Chicago Rental Assistance Program Offers Up to 15 Months of Rent for Tenants Struggling to Pay Due to COVID-19

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News 4 New York

The city of Chicago is offering up to 15 months of rent payments for tenants struggling to pay for housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The application for the Chicago Emergency Rental Assistance Program opened Monday, the city announced. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on June 8 .

The program will provide grants of up to 12 months of unpaid rent and three months of future rent payments for eligible tenants and landlords, the city says.

To be eligible, tenants must live in Chicago and have suffered a hardship due to COVID-19, like job loss, reduced hours or illness in the household. Applicants must also be at risk of housing instability and have earned less than the maximum income threshold.

That threshold ranges from $52,200 for one person up to $86,500 for a six-person household, according to the city.

The full list of income limits is as follows:

Household Size Income Limits  

In order to apply, tenants must provide a government-issued photo ID, proof of address, proof of income, proof of rent amount and the landlord's contact information.

Landlords can also apply on a tenant's behalf, and must provide proof of ownership and the property management agreement, as well as their Tax Identification Number.

More details on the program can be found on the city's website here and applicants can submit their application here.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was scheduled to announced the program at a news conference at 11:15 a.m., according to her public schedule. The event can be watched live in the video player above.

Not in Chicago? Illinois has a program for all residents of the state that opened earlier this month.

Applications for the Illinois Rental Payment Program are open now and will be accepted through June 7.

Under the ILRPP, tenants and landlords could be eligible for up to 15 months of assistance in grant form to cover the past due rent from the last 12 months as well as future rental assistance for the next three months if necessary, the state says. The maximum grant amount is $25,000, provided by federal funding.

In order to be eligible, applicants must be behind on their rent for at least 30 days and renting the home as their primary residence. Applicants must also have experienced a financial hardship as a result of the pandemic: being laid off, place of employment has closed, reduced work hours, loss of child or spousal support, staying home with children because of their day care or school closure, unable to find work or unable to work at prior employer because of a high risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19 and more.

Applicants must also be at risk of homelessness or housing instability, officials say, and the household's total gross income cannot exceed 80% of the area's median income. In Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane and DuPage counties, that would mean a family of four is eligible if they make no more than $74,550.

The state is strongly encouraging renters to apply jointly with landlords for the assistance. If approved, the funding will be paid directly to the housing provider in the form of a check, officials say.

Documentation required includes, for housing providers: evidence of past due rent, a copy of a 2019 property tax bill or 2021 monthly mortgage statement, rental unit information and more.

Tenants applying for the program must submit a utility bill or proof of address, proof of household income and a photo ID, among other items. Proof of immigration status or a social security are not required to apply.

For more information, including detailed instructions on how to apply, click here.

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