CHICAGO — Chicago will offer $33 million in housing assistance grants for renters and homeowners in need during the pandemic, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Monday.
Any Chicago resident seeking housing assistance can use a new portal launched by the city to determine which programs they qualify for and apply, and a lottery will select which applicants will get help paying their rent or mortgage. These grants are direct cash assistance, and do not need to be repaid.
Lightfoot said “more families than ever” are at risk of losing their home due to the economic impact of the pandemic.
“If housing is to be the tool for wealth building that it must be, we have to tackle our city’s racial wealth gap, and that comes from preventing the harm that happens when you lose your home,” Lightfoot said.
The portal offers a single way for residents to access four different programs. Over $20 million in Housing Assistance Grants of between $2,000 and $3,000 will be given to low- and middle-income residents who are facing pandemic-related financial hardship.
A Mortgage Assistance Program will also offer up to $3,300 in relief for homeowners. Another $8 million program is specifically for renters who are facing eviction, and eligible applicants can receive up to six months of rental support.
The deadline to apply for most of the programs is August 10, and assistance for all the programs will be awarded through August and September.
Lightfoot said when the city offered $3 million in housing assistance back in March, 83,000 people applied for 2,000 available grants. Those who applied for the first round of funding but did not receive a grant will be automatically enrolled in the second round of programs.
At least 10,000 households should receive the latest round of assistance, officials said, which is funded through the federal CARES Act and philanthropic sources. A new program will also provide eviction counseling for low-and moderate-income Chicago households.
Assistance for homeowners, especially those who’ve lost their jobs due to the economic impact of the pandemic, was one of the many line items in a $1.1 billion COVID-19 spending plan approved by Chicago’s City Council last month.
Last week, Governor JB Pritzker announced a statewide ban on evictions has been extended through August 22. Additionally, renters will be able to apply for $5,000 in assistance from the state starting August 10, while homeowners can apply for up to $15,000 in assistance starting August 28.