Gov. Pritzker Announces Initial Allocation of 2021 Emergency Rental Assistance is 100 Percent Disbursed to Renters and Landlords
SPRINGFIELD –Governor JB Pritzker today announced that $505 million of the initial tranche of Illinois’ 2021 emergency rental assistance from the federal government has been distributed, as Illinois leads the nation in getting this funding out the door faster than any other state. More than 57,000 households have now received assistance through the Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP). With Illinois’ initial 2021 allocation of rental relief funds fully paid out, IHDA will open a new round of assistance funded by a separate federal bill on Monday, November 8, 2021.
According to the latest report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Illinois is a national leader in providing critical emergency rental assistance to vulnerable households. Illinois leads all other states in disbursing this initial emergency rental assistance with 84 percent of all funds allocated to the State as well as directly to other municipalities, and now in the hands of eligible renters and landlords as they regain their financial footing. This compares to the national rate of just 23 percent of federal dollars making it into the hands of renters and landlords in September. The deadline for states to disburse 65 percent of the money they received under the first batch of funding was September 30.
“I’m proud that Illinois has given out more of our rental assistance to help vulnerable renters and their landlords than any other state. We are first in the nation at putting those dollars to work to support our state’s residents,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “In purely dollars and cents: We’ve now delivered over half a billion dollars in rent to landlords on behalf of struggling tenants in communities across this state. If your workplace closes or you need to stay home to care family, the last thing you should have to worry about is keeping a roof over your head. While the need is still great, I’m proud that we’re continuing to do more than any other state in the nation to keep people in their homes.”
“We know that housing is a right and that the pandemic has threatened that right in unprecedented ways. Since the earliest days of the pandemic, we have met this crisis head-on to alleviate the stress caused by COVID-19,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “Renters in 99 of Illinois' 102 counties have gotten assistance thus far because we were, and continue to be, committed to supporting them. We acted quickly to prevent massive disruption to the lives and wellbeing of Illinoisans by getting aid to the residents who need it the most.”
ILRPP builds on the state’s comprehensive rental assistance programs launched by the Pritzker administration in 2020. The current statewide program provides up to $25,000 in emergency rental assistance to cover up to 15 months of past due rent and up to three months of future rent payments for tenants suffering a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant payments were made directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant as long as the landlord agreed to forgo an eviction.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Pritzker has made it clear those impacted by this terrible virus should not face an additional burden due to homelessness or foreclosure, thereby increasing the chances of infection,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “Since 2020, IHDA has provided over $735 million in emergency rental assistance to help keep more than 103,100 Illinois seniors, families and others safely housed. For those who were unable to received assistance this past round and for homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage, more help is coming as IHDA stands ready to assist on the road to recovery.”
"I am very proud to be a part of this administration that is leading the country in housing help. I commend Governor Pritzker for his steadfast leadership and Director Faust and her team. IDHS is pleased to complement and advance IHDA’s efforts through an equity, community-based strategy that engages trusted community-based messengers to work in neighborhoods across the state to help families and individuals in need of rental and other types of supports. IDHS has already deployed $34M to 11,500 households throughout Illinois," said IDHS Secretary Grace Hou. "IDHS with IHDA and All Chicago also launched a court-based program serving Illinois residents in eviction courts outside of Cook County, while also partnering with Cook County on a similar program. We work closely with the courts to prevent evictions through legal and rental assistance and almost 100k people have also been reached in this effort. IDHS providers have been available since the Spring and will continue to be available in the months ahead."
IHDA received 89,122 ILRPP applications from renters and landlords across Illinois. The department has reviewed all completed applications, approved more than 57,000 applications and paid out $505 million on behalf of renters experiencing pandemic-related hardships.
The program is far reaching, with renters in 99 of Illinois’ 102 counties assisted with ILRPP funds. Approximately 50 percent of the 57,013 approved applications to date have assisted households who have been unemployed for more than 90 days, and 64 percent of approvals have assisted very-low-income households to keep vulnerable tenants in their homes. The program has provided an average of $9,090 per household.
ILRPP has provided security to residents across the state, including Nadia Chavez, a single-mother who rents her home in Springfield, but lost her job in a local restaurant due to the pandemic.
“It was hard for me. I was afraid about my rent — my landlord was a good person, but I knew that she had her own bills to pay,” said Nadia Chavez. “I was unsure at first because I did not have a computer to apply. Even when the application was in Spanish, I did not feel comfortable filling it out by myself, so I reached out for help. While it is a difficult time for me and so many others, I am so thankful for this program. It’s made a difference for my life.”
This initial funding for ILRPP was provided through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, passed in December 2020. Additional rounds of assistance, for both renters and homeowners, will be funded from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law in March 2021. For future ILRPP and mortgage assistance program information and updates, visit illinoishousinghelp.org.
“Last year, Illinois launched one of the largest emergency housing assistance programs in the nation to ensure people could remain in their homes,” said State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). "It is important that we do not let our guard down against the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on housing stability across Illinois. With this new round of funding, the program has made significant improvements to better reach those who need it most. We look forward to working with IHDA and IDHS to continue that constant innovation that households living on the margins depend on and that has positioned this program a national front runner.”
“From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was critical to do everything in our power to help struggling households stay safely and stably housed as they navigated unprecedented financial hardships,” said State Representative Theresa Mah (D-Chicago). “While this is a tremendous milestone, our work is not done, and we will continue to make sure this assistance is distributed fairly and efficiently to families in need.”
“Illinois renters should know their elected officials are actively working on their behalf to protect them as the economy continues to recover after the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago). “Efforts such as the Illinois Rental Payment Program and Court-Based Rental Assistance Program will keep people stably housed. If you are concerned about making your rent payment, please reach out to your local officials and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
In addition to the new ILRPP application period opening November 8, IDHS is currently accepting applications for rental assistance. Households looking for assistance should contact an IDHS Service Provider Agency to ask about rental assistance. Provider Agencies will help determine eligibility and assist with the application process. A list of Provider Agencies, as well as organizations offering assistance with utility bills, free legal aid, and additional services can be found: www.illinoisrentalassistance.org.
To further aim to reduce evictions in Illinois, a Court-Based Rental Assistance Program administered by IDHS is available to assist tenants outside of Cook County 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. More information on that program can be found here.
These efforts build on the Pritzker administration’s commitment to address housing instability head-on through a coordinated approach. In May 2021, the Governor announced that overall, Illinois will offer $1.5 billion in rental relief, through the federal program.