Mayor Lori Lightfoot, city leaders announce $79.8 million in rental assistance amid COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Housing announced $79.8 million in housing rental assistance.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide up to 15 months of rental assistance for renters and landlords impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns, according to the office of Mayor Lightfoot.

According to the statement, Chicago's ERAP as well as other country and state assistance programs are designed to keep Chicago renters in their homes and also avoid foreclosures that were seen in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

Full statement:

"Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Housing opened the third round of rental assistance for tenants and landlords since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) includes nearly $80 million funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act signed into law by Congress in December 2020 and will offer up to 15 months of rental assistance and utility payment assistance for impacted renters.

'Over the course of this incredibly difficult year, our residents, especially our most vulnerable ones, have faced unimaginable loss that is compounded by a systemic poverty and lack of access to safe, affordable housing,' said Mayor Lightfoot. 'The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will not only help to relieve these residents of the fear of losing their homes and being thrown further into uncertainty and socioeconomic instability but allow our city to make significant progress in our mission to provide our communities with resources they need to thrive long after this pandemic is over.'

Chicago's ERAP, along with other county and state assistance programs are designed to keep Chicago renters in their homes as well as avoid the kind of multifamily foreclosures that were seen in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, eviction moratoriums at the state and federal levels have provided some protection to tenants who have lost income. However, last week, Governor Pritzker announced that the state moratorium on pandemic-related evictions will be phased out by August. During this time, landlords have also struggled to pay their bills due to reduced rent collections. ERAP represents crucial assistance to Chicago renters to avoid a wave of evictions, and to Chicago property owners to avoid foreclosures and resulting housing instability.

'The Department of Housing is thrilled to be providing this much-needed assistance to renters vulnerable to eviction, and to landlords vulnerable to foreclosure, said Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara. Between our portal and the many community-based organizations with deep ties in neighborhoods with whom we are partnering, it is our goal to ensure as many households remain stably housed as possible.'

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ERAP provides grants up to 12 months of unpaid rent and three months of eligibilty moving forward, city leaders said.



'These funds will help so many Chicagoans that have fallen behind during a very difficult past year,' said Alderman Harry Osterman, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Real Estate. 'The City is dedicated to the recovery of every resident and wants to ensure everyone in need has the necessary support so no one has to lose their homes, since many have already lost so much during this pandemic.'

DOH has partnered with The Resurrection Project which will provide case management services to administer 75% of the funds through an online platform designed by Unqork. Additional intake and application processing will be performed by over a dozen delegate agencies and will include in-person services to assist residents with limited access to technology and ensure that residents in need are informed of available assistance.

'The Resurrection Project is proud to work the with Department of Housing on this much-needed initiative,' said Raul Raymundo, CEO, The Resurrection Project. 'Our mission at TRP is to build relationships and challenge individuals to act on their faith, values, and ideals to create healthier communities, and we will support all initiatives that make our families stronger and healthier.'

'We are proud to support the City of Chicago and the Department of Housing to get critical relief to families who need it to ensure they can stay in their homes,' said Cas Halloway, Head of Public Enterprise, Unqork. "Unqork's no-code platform will enable Chicagoans to easily apply for relief, and for the City to ensure that it can be distributed quickly and securely to those who are eligible for it, in compliance with all Federal rules and regulations.'

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 demonstrating the deep need across the city, a need that has only increased over the past year. A second round, the Chicago Housing Assistance program, launched with the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) supported by funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Chicago's philanthropic community. Through this second round, DOH and DFSS provided over $33 million in assistance to over 10,000 households. In addition to direct financial relief, DOH has funded pro-bono eviction counseling for low-and moderate-income Chicagoans and authored and passed several ordinances, including the COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance and the Fair Notice Act, to protect renters.

Applications are open now through 11:59PMJune 8, 2021,at chicago.gov/renthelp. In addition, a call center will provide support in multiple languages to help renters and landlords complete their applications. The call center number is 312-698-0202 and will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Mon Saturdays. It will be closed Sundays and on Memorial Day.to be eligible for ERAP, tenants must:
  • Live in Chicago

  • Have suffered a hardship due to COVID-19, such as job loss, reduced hours, or illness within the household

  • Be at risk of housing instability


  • Have earned less than the maximum household income during 2020 or at the time of application (income limits can be found at Chicago.gov/renthelp)


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.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is one of the Lightfoot Administration's comprehensive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has included Racial Equity Rapid Response Teams, economic relief, free legal assistance, and policy changes to protect residents. For more information about the Department of Housing's programs and services, visit Chicago.gov/housing.

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Citizenship status will not be a barrier for anyone seeking rental assistance, Mayor Lightfoot said.



About The Resurrection Project

The Resurrection Project's mission is to build relationships and challenge individuals to act on their faith and values by creating community ownership, building community wealth, and serving as stewards of community assets. TRP is a leading provider of affordable housing, financial education, and immigration services on Chicago's Southwest side. Since its founding in 1990, TRP has leveraged $595 million in neighborhood reinvestment, created 296,000 square feet of commercial community space, developed 864 units of affordable housing, and helped 670 prospective buyers become homeowners.

About Unqork/Unqork Rent Relief

Unqork is the industry pioneer no-code enterprise application platform that helps large companies build, deploy, and manage complex applications without writing a single line of code. Organizations like Goldman Sachs, Liberty Mutual, the Cities of New York and Washington, DC and Maimonides Medical Center are using Unqork's drag-and-drop interface to build enterprise applications faster, with higher quality, and lower costs than conventional approaches. To learn more, please visit: https://www.unqork.com."
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