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Emergency rental assistance finds speedy path to Illinois renters, landlords

Some $505 million of the initial tranche of Illinois’ 2021 emergency rental assistance from the federal government has been distributed, the state says, quoting a federal report that shows Illinois leading the nation in getting the funding out the door faster than any other state.

More than 57,000 households have now received assistance through the Illinois Rental Payment Program.

With Illinois’ initial 2021 allocation of rental relief funds fully paid out, Illinois Housing Development Authority will open a new round of assistance funded by a separate federal bill in December.

According to the latest report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Illinois had disbursed 84 percent of all funds allocated to the state as well as directly to other municipalities. That compared to the national rate of just 23 percent of federal dollars making it into the hands of renters and landlords in September. The deadline for states to disburse 65 percent of the money they received under the first batch of funding was Sept. 30.

The current statewide program provides up to $25,000 in emergency rental assistance to cover up to 15 months of past due rent and up to three months of future rent payments for tenants suffering a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant payments were made directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant as long as the landlord agreed to forgo an eviction.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker has made it clear those impacted by this terrible virus should not face an additional burden due to homelessness or foreclosure, thereby increasing the chances of infection,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “Since 2020, IHDA has provided over $735 million in emergency rental assistance to help keep more than 103,100 Illinois seniors, families and others safely housed. For those who were unable to received assistance this past round and for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage, more help is coming as IHDA stands ready to assist on the road to recovery.”

At the time of its report, IHDA received 89,122 ILRPP applications from renters and landlords across Illinois. The department has reviewed all completed applications, approved more than 57,000 applications and paid out $505 million on behalf of renters experiencing pandemic-related hardships.

In addition to the new ILRPP application period that opened this month, IDHS is currently accepting applications for rental assistance. Households looking for assistance should contact an IDHS Service Provider Agency to ask about rental assistance. Provider Agencies will help determine eligibility and assist with the application process.

A list of Provider Agencies, as well as organizations offering assistance with utility bills, free legal aid and additional services can be found at

Application period for new round of assistance delayed

By Capitol News Illinois

The application period for a new round of financial assistance to renters through the Illinois Housing Development Authority will be delayed one month as the application portal undergoes additional testing, although funding remains available through other state programs.

The latest round of funding, provided by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this year, includes more than $250 million that IHDA said it expects will help 27,000 Illinois renters. The application window, which was scheduled to open Monday, will now be open from Dec. 6 to Jan. 9.

Amy Lee, a spokesperson for IHDA, said the delay was due to the department’s efforts to switch to a new application portal for this round of funding.

The new portal was built to accommodate the rental assistance program as well as a yet-to-launch mortgage assistance program, Lee said, but testing conducted Friday night showed it would not likely be able to withstand heavy traffic.

Lee said the department made the decision to push off implementation for a month, rather than roll out the platform that could be subject to crashes or other technical issues.

She said IHDA was working with the vendor, New York-based web development company Unqork, to ensure the dual rental and mortgage platform would be up and running by Dec. 6. A representative for Unqork reached by Capitol News Illinois deferred questions to IHDA.

Despite the delay, rental assistance funding is still available through other state programs run by the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Renters may still be able to access assistance through an IDHS provider agency. A list of provider agencies, as well as organizations helping with utility bills, free legal aid and additional services can be found at

The court-based program is available to Illinois residents outside of Cook County and applies to those with active eviction cases. Tenants hoping to access the funding can apply for up to 12 months of past-due rent and up to three months of future rent payments using their eviction court case number at

Lee said IHDA did not expect to begin distributing funding from the latest round of assistance until Dec. 13, and that date is unchanged with the latest delay in launching the platform.

“While this delays the date we’ll begin accepting applications, IHDA is committed to meeting the original timeline of disbursing rental assistance money to tenants and landlords in December,” IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust said in a news release. “We recognize this postponement may cause concern for tenants facing eviction, but there is help for renters available now.”

Lee also said she did not have a date as to when the mortgage assistance program would be available, noting the state submitted its plan to the U.S. Treasury but has thus far not received final approval.

In the first round of the Illinois Rental Payment Program that launched in May, IHDA approved more than 57,000 applications and paid out nearly $540 million, bringing the total money disbursed to more than $776 million since the pandemic began.

To be eligible for rental assistance, a renter must live in Illinois and the rental property must be a primary residence, the household must have experienced a financial hardship due to the pandemic and have an unpaid rent balance, and a household’s income must be below 80 percent of the Area Median Income.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.


1 Comment

  1. ANN M BURROWS on May 12, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    needing assistance with paying rent. Because of covid, I lost many of my cleaning jobs at residences.

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