Mendota reporter | App portal opens for new suite of rental aids in Illinois
By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The application portal is now open for an additional $ 297 million in rent assistance for Illinoisans who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money for the Illinois Rental Payment Program, or ILRPP, comes from the US federal bailout law, enacted by President Joe Biden in March. It will be administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
The application portal is available on illinoishousinghelp.org. To be eligible, a tenant must have an unpaid rent balance on a rental property that is their primary residence. They must have experienced financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, have a family income below 80% of the region’s median income, and must reside in Illinois.
Proof of citizenship is not required and assistance is available for renters of state or federal subsidized housing.
The portal for the final round of funding will be open until 11:59 p.m. on January 9. The IHDA said it expects 32,500 households to receive assistance through this round of funding. Approved applicants will receive one-time grants of up to $ 25,000, paid directly to their owners on their behalf, and the IHDA has said it will start releasing funds by the end of the year.
The launch date has been pushed back a month from the original November date announced by Governor JB Pritzker so that the portal can undergo further testing. A spokesperson for IHDA said the portal had already received more than 3,000 applications on Monday and the department had no further concerns about its ability to handle the load after resolving technical issues during the month. last.
Rents due from June 2020 to April 2022 are eligible for reimbursement, with tenants receiving up to 15 months of retroactive rent and three months of future rent. If a landlord chooses not to participate in the program, tenants may be able to receive payments directly, according to the IHDA.
A tenant can still apply if they have already received federal rent assistance, but they cannot accumulate more than 18 months of assistance. The IHDA has said it will adjust grant amounts for those who have already received partial aid.
The IHDA said it would prioritize households earning less than 50% of the region’s median income and those with one or more members unemployed for at least 90 days.
The latest round of federal rent assistance is the third to be distributed by the state.
More than 62,400 applications were approved and $ 571 million paid out to tenants statewide in the previous cycle. According to the IHDA, about 55% of approved claims came from households where a member had been unemployed for more than 90 days, and the program provided an average of $ 9,152 per household.
More than $ 800 million has been distributed by the state in rent assistance since 2020, helping 108,500 Illinoisians pay off their rent. According to the latest report Treasury report describing the breakdown of previous lease funding rounds, Illinois had distributed more than 90 percent of funds received so far.
“The first cycle of Illinois’ rent payment program has highlighted the continued need for help as we continue to recover from this terrible pandemic,” IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust said in a statement. “As we reopen this vital assistance program to help Illinois families, the elderly and the most vulnerable, Governor Pritzker continues to work with the (US) Treasury and our elected officials to advocate for a additional funding to ensure that no one is forced to leave their home. as a result of COVID-19. “
The Illinois Department of Social Services also offers rental assistance, and assistance is also available through a court program. IDHS also provides utility and legal assistance, accessible at https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org/.
The state is also preparing to launch a Homeowner Assistance Fund program to distribute federal resources for mortgage assistance in the spring. Information on this program is also available at illinoishousinghelp.org, where those looking for mortgage help can sign up to a mailing list for program updates when available.
(Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, non-partisan news service covering state government and distributed to over 400 newspapers statewide. It is primarily funded by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.)