*Update August 18, 2020: Renters now have until August 28 to complete their applications for Illinois Emergency Rental Assistance Grants*
The State of Illinois is making $150 million available for renters who need help paying rent due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Emergency Rental Assistance funds are being parceled out in $5,000 grants for renters who are struggling to pay rent due to losses from COVID-19, and applications are being accepted until August 21. An additional $150 million in relief funds will be available for property owners who are struggling during the pandemic. Mortgage holders who’ve fallen behind on payment obligations because of the novel Coronavirus will be eligible for $15,000 grants once the rental assistance program concludes. The ERA grants are intended to forestall a wave of potential evictions during a pandemic, although a statewide moratorium on evictions remains in place until October 17, 2020 in Illinois.
How Can Renters Apply for Emergency Rental Assistance Grants in Illinois?
Renters who apply for the state’s rental assistance grants will need to disclose their household earnings and their landlord’s contact information as part of the application process. They will also need to provide evidence of financial losses due to COVID-19 and prove that they have unpaid rent balance since March 1, 2020. Renters have until August 21 to apply for one of the grants, and they can submit their application on the Illinois Housing Development Authority website (https://era.ihda.org).
Will Renters Get $5,000 if They’re Approved for ERA Grants?
Approved renters will get a one-time grant of $5,000 that’s deposited directly to their landlord to help make up for missed rent payments. The payment will be retroactive to any unpaid rent from March 2020 or until the $5,000 grant is depleted, whichever comes first. If renters are currently struggling to pay their rent, they should reach out to their landlord and set out a plan for repayment or deferred payment based on their financial situation. Even if renters don’t get approved for one of the ERA grants or some other form of rental assistance, contacting the landlord to notify them of their situation is a vital first step.
The $300 million that the Illinois Housing Development Authority will administer in rent and mortgage relief comes from the $3.5 billion that Congress approved in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES, in March 2020.