New round of rental assistance available

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The Chicago Department of Housing will begin accepting applications Dec. 6 for its latest round of rental assistance for tenants and landlords financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This second Emergency Rental Assistance Program application round – which will close at 11:59 p.m. Dec. 18 – includes $102 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and will offer up to 18 months of rental assistance and utility payment assistance for impacted renters.

So far, the city of Chicago has provided over $110 million in direct financial assistance and legal services to impacted Chicagoans since the onset of the pandemic.

The city has prioritized households earning 50% of the area median income, which is $46,600 for a family of four and below. In this next round of funding, the housing department will continue to prioritize those households. So far, the city has assisted over 8,600 households with rent and utility payments, with an average rental assistance of $8,900 and average utility assistance of $800 per applicant.

This second round funding represents the city’s fourth round of direct rental grants since the onset of the pandemic. In March 2020, DOH opened its first rental assistance program funded with $2 million from its Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund providing 2,000 one-time grants in the amount of $1,000 to assist renters. The department received over 83,000 applications for this first round.

In July 2020, the Chicago Housing Assistance program was launched; more than $33 million in assistance has been provided through the program to over 10,000 households.

This new round of funding will provide up to $2,500 per month for up to 15 months of past due rent and three months of future payments. Eligible tenants will also be able to apply to receive up to 18 months (15 past due, three future months) of utility payments. The maximum number of months residents can receive ERAP assistance is 18 months between both application rounds.

Chicagoans can apply online here, or by visiting a partner community organization. Times and hours will be limited, and landlords and tenants are encouraged to apply online.

To be eligible, tenants must:  

  • Live in Chicago
  • Have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Be at risk of housing instability
  • Have earned less than the maximum household income listed below during 2020 or at the time of application
  • Grants will prioritize households at 50% of AMI and below

Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant. Landlords may also register their properties using the online application and be notified if a tenant has started the application process for rental assistance.

Household income limits apply, and proof of address, income self-certification and other documentation are needed to qualify. Proof of citizenship is not a requirement for qualification. Funds will be distributed on a rolling basis.

“I am excited that we are able to continue providing direct payments to Chicagoans that will not only stabilize families in the short term, but set them up for the future,” Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said in a statement.

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