The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on many — emotionally, mentally, physically and financially.

Through the Illinois Rental Payment Program, the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is helping to provide rental assistance to tenants to eliminate the stresses of housing during an already stressful time.

“As of yesterday, we have helped nearly 65,000 households,” said Rodrigo Carrillo, a representative from the IHDA.

The organization held an informational meeting Thursday to provide details on the program now that the second round of applications is open to the public.

“With the new variants that are coming across, people are still struggling to pay their rent,” said Carrillo.

The organization has $297 million available, and tenants can receive up to $25,000 in assistance.

“This program is designed to help people that have been indirectly or directly impacted by COVID-19 to pay up to 15 months of arrearage and three months forward rent, so a total of 18 months of rent,” said Carrillo.

A representative from a partnering organization described how everyone was affected by the pandemic, and the economic destruction it inflicted upon individuals throughout the country — those on both sides of a housing agreement.

“That would affect income they have coming in and would also affect them being able to pay rent, so this program is designed to help get caught up on rent and help landlord rental payment lost also,” said Economic Growth Corporation Housing Manager James Jones.

Find more information on how to apply and check to see if you qualify for the program here.