Although the eviction moratorium ends Sunday in Illinois, it doesn’t mean lost hope for tenants seeking assistance.
Illinois has already provided renters and landlords with $430 million in rent relief — and more could be on the way. When Barbara Phipps lost her job with the US postal service in January, she heard about rent assistance while watching the local news.
“I just didn’t have any income. I didn’t have no money,” Phipps said. “I didn’t have nothing.”
Phipps applied and nine days later, her rent was paid. Housing lawyers said help remains.
“There’s more resources available to help people now than there ever have been before,” Michelle Gilbert, with Lawyers Committee for Better Housing.
The Lawyers Committee for Better Housing helps connect people with rent assistance. Where tenants live is often based on how much money is available.
“There are people that are waiting to help,” Gilbert said.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE HYPERLINKS
- Mortgage assistance – https://www.ihda.org/
- Rental assistance statewide – https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org/providers
- Legal resources – https://www.cookcountylegalaid.org/
- Cook County rental assistance portal – https://www.cookcountyil.gov/service/covid-19-recovery-rental-assistance-program
- Information about all rental assistance programs – https://chicookilrenthelp.org/
On Friday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Suburban Cook County renters and landlords who need help could start applying on Monday for an additional round of assistance. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, $75 million is available.
“The county remains holistic in our approach in that we aim to treat the need, not just the symptoms with eviction,” Preckwinkle said.
In the city, locals in need may call 311 and ask for short-term help.
“Tenants shouldn’t just move out and landlords shouldn’t lock out tenants,” Gilbert said.
Housing advocates say even if denied, those seeking rent assistance in the past should try again. In addition, locals rental assistance seekers should try completing an application over the phone if rejected online.
“The governor’s moratorium, especially the way it stepped down the protections, really helped keep this from being a crisis,” Gilbert said.
Landlords say they are looking forward to getting their rights back.
“We can’t enforce evictions and we can’t have the sheriff enforce evictions,” said Andrew Timms, Illinois Rental Property Owners Association.
Timms said that Sunday had been a long time coming.
“We don’t have any assurances,” Timm said. “Just because there’s a calendar date today doesn’t mean there won’t be some sort of retaking in the future.”