coronavirus illinois

Need Help Paying Rent? Here's How to Apply for $5K From Illinois' New Coronavirus Relief Program

Homeowners can also apply for up to $15,000 in mortgage assistance, state officials said

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Have you lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic - and need help paying rent or your mortgage?

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that applications are now open for two new programs providing financial assistance to thousands of people in Illinois who are struggling to pay for housing due to COVID-19.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority will allocate $150 million to help eligible renters pay their rent through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, Pritzker's office said in a statement.

After the application period for rental assistance closes, the IHDA will then open applications for the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program to provide $150 million to homeowners also affected by the pandemic.

The first of the month is fast approaching, marking the second month for some of not being able to pay rent. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports on how some renters in Chicago could get help.

Pritzker's office said the programs are the "largest emergency housing assistance programs in the nation and will help approximately 40,000 households" by the end of the year.

Under the rental assistance program, tenants will receive a one-time grant of $5,000 paid directly to their landlords to cover any missed rent payments beginning in March and extending through December or until the $5,000 is exhausted, whichever comes first, officials said. Tenants will not have to repay that funding.

Applications are open from Monday through Aug. 21, though the window may close early due to anticipated high volume, the governor's office said. The IHDA will use a third-party entity to select applications to be reviewed for eligibility, with about 30,000 tenants expected to receive funding.

Tenants are eligible to apply if they meet three criteria: their household income before March 1 was at or below 80% of the area's median income, an adult member of the household has lost income due to the pandemic, and the household has an unpaid rent balance.

Governor Pritzker reacted to the rise of coronavirus cases in Illinois Friday with an emergency order to enforce the wearing of masks. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern.

After the application period for the rental assistance program closes, homeowners who have experienced a loss of income related to the pandemic can then apply for the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program beginning Aug. 24.

Homeowners are eligible if they meet three criteria: their household adjusted gross income from their 2019 tax return was at or below 120% of the area median income, an adult member of the household had a loss of income due to the pandemic on or after March 1, the mortgage was current as of Feb. 29 and their mortgage is past due or in forbearance.

Approved applicants will receive up to $15,000, paid directly to their mortgage servicer to cover the past due or forbearance balance as well as regular mortgage payments through the end of the year, or until the funding is exhausted, whichever comes first, state officials said. Those payments may include all escrowed mortgage expenses as well, like property taxes, insurance and certain fees, the governor's office said.

The funding will not need to be repaid and is expected to assist roughly 10,000 households, officials say, adding that the application period is slated to end Sept. 4 but may close early due to anticipated high volume.

“We are in a moment that requires a historic effort to mitigate this virus’s devastating effects on the health and livelihoods of the residents of this state – one that centers on rebounding with a stronger, more inclusive economy on the other side,” Pritzker said in a statement.

"Keeping people in their homes isn’t just a moral obligation, it’s an economic one, and I’m incredibly proud that even in tough financial times for the state, we used our federal resources to build the largest pandemic housing stability program of any state in the nation," he continued.

Both programs are funded through the state's allocation of $3.5 billion in federal funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March.

More information, including how to apply, can be found here.

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