Reopening of Illinois Rental Payment Program delayed a month

Local News

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IDHA) announced the reopening of its Rental Payment Program has been pushed back by a month.

Originally scheduled for Monday, Nov. 8, the housing authority will now begin accepting new applications Monday, Dec. 6, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 9., at IllinoisHousingHelp.org.

The IDHA says the delay is due to a vendor needing additional time to ensure its application platform is functioning properly, adding that it’s currently working closely with hired technology vendor partners to address unexpected issues to ensure the system is stable when the portal opens.

“IDHA is continuously learning from previous application rounds and striving to improve the application process to ensure the funds can quickly get to landlords and tenants who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19,” a news release says. “The application portal requires additional testing to ensure it can accommodate the tens of thousands of applicants that may apply for Illinois Rental Payment Program assistance.”

Money from this round of applicants will still be distributed to approved Illinoisans before the end of the year.

“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,” said the housing authority’s Executive Director Kristin Faust. “We recognize this postponement may cause concern for tenants facing eviction, but there is help for renters available now.”

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is currently accepting applications for those in need of immediate rental assistance.

Households looking for assistance are advised to contact an IDHS service provider agency to help determine eligibility and assist with the application process.

A list of provider agencies, as well as organizations helping with utility bills, free legal aid and additional services, can be found at IllinoisRentalAssistance.org.

To further reduce evictions in Illinois, a Court-Based Rental Assistance Program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services is also available to assist tenants with active cases in eviction court.

Tenants may 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 the Illinois Rental Payment Program website.

The December 2021 reopening of the Rental Payment Program is expected to provide more than $250 million to renters and landlords in an effort to prevent evictions and keep families safe and secure while they regain their financial footing, with additional funding expected to assist more than 27,000 Illinois households.

What is the Illinois Rental Payment Program?

  • The Illinois Rental Payment Program provides direct funding to support Illinois tenants unable to pay their rent due to a COVID-19-related loss of income.
  • Approved applicants will receive one-time grants of up to $25,000 paid directly to their landlords on their behalf.
  • If the landlord chooses not to participate in the program, tenants may receive payments directly.
  • December’s application round will cover up to 18 months of emergency rental payments, including up to 15 months of missed payments and up to three months of future rent payments.
  • Rent owed from June 2020 through April 2022 may be paid for with Illinois Rental Payment Plan funds.
  • Priority will be given to households earning less than 50% of area median income and to households with one or more members who have been unemployed for at least 90 days.

What are the tenant eligibility requirements to apply for the Illinois Rental Payment Program?

  • Household lives in Illinois and rents their home as their primary residence.
  • Household must have experienced a financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the pandemic.
  • Household income is below 80% of the area median income adjusted for household size.
  • Household must have an unpaid rent balance.
  • Proof of citizenship is not required. Rental assistance is not a “public charge” benefit.
  • Tenants residing in state or federally subsidized housing are eligible to apply.

How many applications has the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IDHA) approved so far?

  • In the first round of the Illinois Rental Payment Program launched in May, the IDHA reviewed all completed applications, approved more than 57,000 applications and paid out nearly $540 million on behalf of renters experiencing pandemic-related hardships.

How much money has the State of Illinois provided to renters throughout the pandemic?

  • Since 2020, the State of Illinois has provided over $776 million in emergency rental assistance to help keep more than 103,100 Illinois seniors, families and others safely housed.

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