Residents of Illinois and Chicago struggling to make ends meet because of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for grants to cover 18 months of missed rental payments starting Monday, officials said.
The relief package signed into law in March by President Joe Biden will send $105 million to Chicago and an additional $250 million to Illinois residents to help those struggling to avoid being evicted amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement that city officials “have seen a steady increase in the need for housing and utility assistance across the city that must be addressed.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared a moratorium on evictions beginning in March 2020 as part of the state’s stay-at-home order designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The ban ended on Oct. 3, even as state officials scrambled to get millions of dollars in federal aid to those at risk of being forced out of their homes.
The end of Illinois’ ban on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic did not trigger a long-feared tsunami of evictions in Chicago or Cook County, according to data obtained by WTTW News.
Chicago officials sent more than $110 million in financial assistance to Chicago residents struggling to stay in their home during the pandemic. More than 8,600 households got grants averaging $8,900 to pay their rents and $800 to pay utility bills, officials said.
Chicago officials will continue to prioritize aid for Chicagoans earning less than 50% of the area’s median income, or $46,600 for a family of four, officials said. The city expects to help at least 4,000 households with this round of grant funding.
Both the state and city programs offer 15 months of a maximum of $2,500 in rental assistance to cover past-due rent from the previous 12 months and three additional months.
Applications for the city’s rental assistance program are due by Dec. 18, while applications for the state program are due Jan. 9.
State officials have sent $540 million in emergency rental assistance to households through the Illinois Rental Payment Program, making Illinois a national leader in the push to prevent households from being evicted during the pandemic. Since 2020, the state of Illinois has provided more than $776 million in emergency rental assistance to help keep more than 103,100 Illinois seniors, families and others safely housed, officials said.
Cook County residents served with an eviction notice can go to cookcountylegalaid.org or call 855-956-5763 to get free legal aid and mediation services.