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Second Round of Funding Will Help Chicago Homeowners and Renters Stay in Their Homes During COVID-19

By Tanya Svoboda
August 2020

Illinois’s eviction moratorium is set to expire on August 22nd and in a buzzer-beating move to stave off a wave of evictions and foreclosures, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has revealed the second round of homeowner assistance in the form of a $33 million relief plan for renters and property owners.

In March, during the first round of aid, more than 83,000 Chicagoans applied for grants. At the time, the city had only $2 million available – enough money to assist only 2,000 people in a lottery which distributed $1,000 grants. With thousands of applicants unable to receive assistance with Chicago’s first round of aid, fears of mass evictions and foreclosures mounted as the deadline on eviction moratoriums crept closer.

Marisa Novara, the commissioner of the Department of Housing in Chicago, estimates that this round of grants should be enough to help 10,000 Chicagoans. The funding for this round of assistance is coming from both federal funds and local not-for-profits.

The Chicago Housing Assistance Portal is designed to help homeowners and renters navigate the patchwork of programs available to them.

Assistance For Chicago Homeowners

Chicago homeowners applying for grants can do so from August 24th through September 4th. $3.5 million has been set aside to help struggling homeowners. According to the WTTW article Chicago Officials Launch 2nd Round of Rental Assistance Grants, to qualify for up to $3,300 worth of grants you must be an owner-occupant homeowner who is suffering from COVID-19 related financial hardship. Applicants must also earn no more than 120% of the average median income.

By using the online portal provided by the City of Chicago, as a homeowner, you can find the application best suited to your unique situation.

Assistance for Chicago Renters

Renters in Chicago can apply for assistance from August 10th through August 21st. The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), who is overseeing the $150 million program, urges renters to continue paying as much of their rent as possible, even during the assistance application process, because funds are limited and an application does not guarantee assistance. Rental assistance grants are awarded through a lottery.

To qualify, renters must meet maximum income requirements, have suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19, and have an unpaid rent balance beginning after March 1, 2020. Approved applicants will receive “a grant of $5,000 that will be sent to your landlord and applied against your rent.”

The Chicago Department of Housing offers grants ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 for renters. Eligibility for these grants is contingent on earning “no more than 60% of the area’s median income, which is $43,460 for a family of four,” according to WTTW.

Assistance for Others

$500,000 will finance pro-bono attorneys, through the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing, who are working for Chicagoans at risk of eviction due to COVID-19.

The collaboration between the government and nonprofits in Chicago is providing “critical resources for families to stay in their homes during the middle of a pandemic,” Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), chairman of the City Council’s Housing Committee told the Chicago Sun-Times. Helping residents stay in their homes ultimately helps the entire community.


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