CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor JB Pritzker signed a major expansion to the Illinois rental relief program in law Monday.
The Illinois Rental Payment Program will provide relief for 120,000 households. In addition to the $1.5 billion for rental assistance, $400 million will be provided for mortgage assistance.
According to the website of the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the program is for households that are behind on rent because of reasons related to the pandemic. It offers up to 15 months of rent assistance, or up to $25,000.
"It was clear when we implemented last year's housing relief programs that the need was far greater than the dollars allocated to our state. That's why I'm pleased to announce today that Illinois is expanding rental relief to $1.5 billion, nearly 4 times the amount that was available last year," said Governor JB Pritzker.
TK Soni owns several properties across Chicago, and economic fallout from the pandemic have devastated him and his tenants. He was denied in the first round of assistance offered by the state, and Monday was one of the first people to apply for help on behalf of one of his most impacted tenants.
"Unfortunately, she lost her job. And then she fell behind. Since August, she's been behind on her payments," he said. "What are you supposed to do? You still have to pay for all your expenses."
Landords can begin starting a joined application with their tenants on Monday through June 7. Tenants have until June 24 to fill out their portion of the application.
Tenants can start applications starting on June 9 and have until June 28. Landlords would then have until July 6 to complete their portion of the tenant-initiated application.
Applications can be filed online at IllinoisHousingHelp.org
Households must meet the following eligibility requirements to qualify:
-Household is behind on their rent for at least 30 days
-Household lives in Illinois and rents their home as their primary residence
-Household's total gross income cannot exceed 80% Area Median Income for location
-Household must have experienced a financial hardship directly - or indirectly - due to the pandemic, for example:
1. Being laid off
2. Place of employment has closed
3. Reduction in hours of work
4. Loss of spousal/child support
5. Inability to find work due to COVID-19
6. Having to stay home with children due to closure of day care/school
7. Unable to participate in previous employment due to the workplace's high risk of severe illness from COVID-19
-At risk of homelessness or housing instability
For more information, visit ihda.org.
Last year, Illinois delivered over $329 million in housing payment grants to over 56,000 renters and homeowners across the state, Governor Pritzker's office said.