Illinois distributes all of first-round rental assistance

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[October 28, 2021]  By Kevin Bessler

(The Center Square) – State officials announced over a half-billion dollars has been distributed to renters and landlords around the state.

More than 57,000 households have now received assistance through the 2021 Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP).

At a news conference Wednesday in Springfield, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton said renters in 99 of Illinois’ 102 counties have received rental assistance.

“Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head, a safe place they can call their own, and today confirms that Illinois is the state where this rings true,” she said.

ILRPP provides up to $25,000 in emergency rental assistance to cover up to 15 months of past-due rent and up to three months of future rent payments for tenants experiencing financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant payments were made directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant as long as the landlord agreed to forgo an eviction.

Michael Glasser, president of the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance, said it is beneficial for renters to apply for assistance because housing providers prefer not to go through the long legal process of eviction, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

“Just having the ability to evict gives us a tool that we need to kind of wake up and shake up some of the tenants who have been milking this process,” Glasser said.

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Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton speaks at a news conference in Springfield on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. 

More than 6 million U.S. households cumulatively owe billions in back rent, according to the National Equity Atlas created by PolicyLink.

“Tenants owe billions in back rent, and the burden of that debt on neighborhood housing providers has drained their resources and impacted their ability to invest and maintain the homes that their tenants live in,” Glasser said.

According to officials, around 50% of the 57,013 approved applications have assisted households that have been unemployed for more than 90 days. The program has provided an average of $9,090 per household.

With Illinois’ initial 2021 allocation of rental relief funds fully paid out, the Illinois Housing Development Authority will open a new round of assistance funded by a separate bill on Monday, November 8, 2021.

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