Pritzker Administration Announces More Than $1 Billion in Emergency Rental Assistance Disbursed to Renters and Landlords

Pritzker Administration Announces More Than $1 Billion in Emergency Rental Assistance Disbursed to Renters and Landlords
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Pritzker Administration Announces More Than $1 Billion in Emergency Rental Assistance Disbursed to Renters and Landlords (Chicago, IL) — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) today announced that with the closure of the Illinois Rental Payment Program Round 2 (ILRPP2), nearly $1.02 billion in emergency rental assistance provided by Congress to the state of Illinois has been distributed to 137,372 households since 2020. Assistance for those facing immediate eviction is still available through the Illinois Court-Based Rental Assistance Program (CBRAP). Program information can be found at  www.illinoishousinghelp.org/cbrap.

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“Since day one of my administration, I’ve made it clear that housing is not a privilege —it’s a right,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That’s why when COVID-19 brought upon devastating economic impacts in our most vulnerable communities, we created the Illinois Rental Payment Program so that no Illinois family had to choose between making rent or putting food on the table. Today, I am proud to announce that round two of that very program dispersed more nearly $1.02 billion in emergency rental assistance — keeping a roof over the head of over 137,000 households. This is the kind of program that changes lives — and it’s the kind of work that we will continue to do.”

Since March of 2020, many Illinois households have experienced serious health and economic impacts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic including unemployment or underemployment, lost income due to children or elders needing care at home, unexpected medical bills, and more. These financial burdens forced many Illinois households to prioritize their spending to survive, leaving many unable to pay their full monthly housing costs. Therefore, it was critical to expeditiously develop and implement a strategy to ensure every Illinoisan had the resources necessary to stay safely housed.

“A family’s quality of life and a community’s stability, begins with the right to housing. Illinois made it a priority to help families struggling to hold on to this right during a housing crisis made worse by the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “This program was a difference maker, swiftly providing resources throughout the state at a critical time to those who needed it the most. Illinois is proud to continue doing the work that puts people first.”

Building on the successful administration of the 2020 Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Illinois Rental Payment Program Round 1 (ILRPP1), IHDA continued to develop and implement key changes to make ILRPP2 more accessible, efficient, and impactful. The ILRPP2 program provided 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 if the landlord agreed to forgo eviction.

“Facing the possibility of an unprecedented wave of evictions during a public health crisis, the need for emergency rental assistance, eviction prevention measures, and other relief was clear and immediate,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “Governor Pritzker and the state of Illinois quickly launched a holistic response to those needs and Illinois stands proud as a model of good government in helping its residents endure the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by developing one of the largest and most expediently deployed rental assistance programs in the country.”

IHDA received 64,442 ILRPP2 applications from renters and landlords in 97 of Illinois’ 102 counties. After reviewing every application to ensure they meet state and federal requirements, IHDA approved 27,279 applications and paid out $204 million on behalf of renters experiencing pandemic-related hardships. The ILRPP2 program provided an average of $7,462 per household to cover seven months of rent. Of the nearly $204 million allocated through ILRPP2, 71 percent (or $145 million) went to rental arrears and the remaining 29 percent ($59 million) was applied to future rent payments.

“The response by the state of Illinois to provide relief to Illinois’ most vulnerable households at the height of the pandemic is proof that good government works,” said Assistant Majority Leader Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago). “With over $1 billion in aid now in the hands of renters and landlords, many people were able to stay safely housed in their communities. Recognizing that we still have more work to do to ensure housing stability for all, I am proud of the actions of my colleagues both in Springfield and Washington who took prompt action to help so many.”

ILRPP2 applications were prioritized to serve those with a greater risk of housing instability. Approximately 54% of the 27,279 approved applications assisted households who had a member who had been unemployed for more than 90 days, a significant increase from ILRPP1 when only 11 percent of approved funds were paid to households experiencing unemployment greater than 90 days. In addition, 81% of approvals assisted very-low-income households to keep vulnerable tenants in their homes while they regain financial solvency, a 17 percent increase from ILRPP1.

If a tenant applied for help through ILRPP2, but their landlord elected not to respond, tenants were still eligible to receive assistance. In total, 3,134 tenants completed the housing counseling session, uploaded their supporting documentation, and were approved for funding. As a result, more than $25 million in ILRPP2 funds were paid directly to tenants due to lack of participation from their landlords. This was an increase in $15 million in direct payments from ILRPP1.

“The Illinois Rental Payment Program was an amazing effort between state and local agencies, the General Assembly and non-profit agencies throughout the state,” said State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago). “Through three rounds of assistance, each round saw process improvements from previous lessons learned to incorporate best practices to better serve Illinois renters effected by COVID-19-related hardships. Allowing a pathway for tenants with unresponsive landlords was a key change incorporated as no one should be homeless if they have the ability to make their payment whole.”

ILRPP2 was funded through an allocation from the federal American Rescue Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2). Launched in Dec. 2021, ILRPP2 was supported by $297 million in federal funding. The remaining funds will be transferred to CBRAP. Additional ILRPP2 program statistics and information can be found in the “ILRPP Round 2 Fact and Information Report” located here.

“The state of Illinois continues to be a leader in administering this critical emergency assistance to our renters and landlords impacted by the pandemic,” said State Representative Lindsey LaPointe (D-Chicago). “If you are served with an eviction notice, do not hesitate and apply today to see if you are eligible for the help you need to stay in your home and community.”

Further aiming to reduce evictions in Illinois, the Court-Based Rental Assistance Program, now administered by IHDA, is available to assist tenants outside of Cook County with active cases in eviction court. Tenants may apply for up to 15 months of past due rent and up to three months of future rent payments using their eviction court case number. For program information, please visit www.illinoishousinghelp.org/cbrap.

Cook County residents, including city of Chicago residents, can receive court-based rental assistance by calling the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt hotline at 855-956-5763 or by visiting www.CookCountyLegalAid.org.

Pritzker Administration Announces More Than $1 Billion in Emergency Rental Assistance Disbursed to Renters and Landlords

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Monica Gordon for Cook County Commissioner

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