City of Chicago launches $80M emergency rental assistance program

Chicago News

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago is devoting millions of dollars to help residents struggling to pay their rent during the pandemic.

On Monday, the city announced its plan to use $80 million in federal relief funds to pay for a program in which landlords can also apply for relief on behalf of tenants. Kimberly Allen says she is relieved such a program exists.

Like many who have experienced financial hardships during the pandemic, Allen never expected to find herself in need of rental assistance. She says because of school closings, she had to take a leave of absence for 3-4 months to take care of her daughter. She says she was left with only a third of her pay. 

“It was stressful,” Allen said. “It put me in a bind. I didn’t know how I was going to get ahead because I fell so far behind.”

“A crisis this unprecedented with impacts this far reaching requires a response that is equally if not more unprecedented and bold and far reaching,” Lightfoot said.

On Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot opened applications for the federally funded emergency rental assistance program.  It’s the third round of rental assistance offered by the city. The first round in March of 2020 saw over 83,000 applications, but with only $2 million available, it could only help 2000,000 households. 

A second round saw $24 million dollars go to 10,000 households.

Lightfoot believes this third round of $80 million in funding will help prevent an unprecedented number of evictions now that Governor Pritzker is phasing out the moratorium by August.  

“Tenants and landlords can receive up to 15 months of assistance, 12 months of back rent and up to three months going forward and some residents may also be eligible for utility payment assistance,” said Marisa Novara, the city Commissioner of Housing.

Mayor Lightfoot says she hopes this latest rental assistance program blunts what she fears will be an eviction and housing crisis coming down the pike. Allen was lucky, she applied for one of the earlier rounds of funding and got it in March of this year. 

“They put me ahead of the game financially,” Allen said. “It gapped and got me a stable mind, and even by them helping me so much, I went back to real estate school.”

Kimberly Allen

Mayor Lightfoot pointed out this money is available regardless of citizenship status. Click here for more information on how to apply.

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