With federal use-it-or-lose-it deadline approaching, Illinois has distributed half its rental assistance money

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Sarah Freishtat, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

Illinois has paid out about half its available rent assistance funding, with a deadline to use more fast approaching.

The state has until the end of September to spend at least 65% of the money provided by the federal government. If Illinois fails to meet the deadline, the U.S. Treasury can take back funding beginning Sept. 30 and reallocate it to jurisdictions that have met the 65% mark.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority, which administers the state’s rent relief program, said it was confident it would meet the end of September deadline.

“This has been a key goal for us, to ensure every dollar available for rental assistance stays in Illinois,” spokeswoman Amy Lee said.

Thursday, IHDA said it had paid more than $252 million in the current round of rental assistance, of $500 million available. The money has helped 29,433 renter households so far, according to the agency.

IHDA has received 98,865 completed applications for rental assistance so far, in periods that closed in June and August, the agency said. IHDA has been contacting applicants who are missing documentation.

The program provided up to $25,000 paid to landlords to cover up to a year of past due rent payments missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and three months of future payments. The agency has paid an average of $8,580 to each household, it said.

Illinois also continues to have an eviction moratorium in place, despite a Supreme Court ruling that allowed evictions under a federal ban to resume. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office has said he intends to extend the state moratorium through Oct. 3.

About 23% of adults in Illinois households not current on rent or mortgage said it was likely they would face eviction or foreclosure within the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey that ended Aug. 16.

Applications for the IHDA rent relief program have closed. Renters can apply for assistance by contacting agencies that are part of an Illinois Department of Human Services network, which include homeless service providers, faith-based groups, legal aid clinics and other organizations, until funding runs out.

Additional assistance is expected to be available in the fall. IHDA is expecting to distribute $386 million to prevent foreclosure and cover mortgage payments, and $660 million for renters struggling to pay rent.

Chicago and Cook County also offered rental assistance programs, and are not currently accepting applications.

sfreishtat@chicagotribune.com

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September 4, 2021 at 07:59AM

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