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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Emergency Rent Assistance Deadline Extended

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This week, Governor Pritzker and the IDHA announced that the deadline to apply for rental assistance has been extended by one week to August 28th.

The decision comes after an inland hurricane swept through much of northern Illinois and left some 750,000 Illinoisans without power. Kristin Faust, IHDA Executive Director says ,”it’s important we provide additional time to file and complete application for assistance.” She continued, "I am pleased to extend the deadline as there were many renters and landlords without power for nearly a week, which negatively impacted their ability to apply to the Emergency Rental Assistance program.”

The state of Illinois launched the largest rent assistance program in the country. It sets aside 150 million dollars to help 30,000 households throughout the state. Sarah Brinkmann, the Executive Director at Home Start Rockford, said there are requirements to apply, and some won’t qualify. "It's specifically targeted, though, to help people with COVID related loss of income," she said. "So it's not for people who were struggling with their rent before COVID hit."

Additionaly, the eligibility for the programs is restricted to indivuals that earn 80% of the area median income or lower. 

Renters are encouraged to notify landlords that they have applied for emergency rental assistance and to expect an email from IHDA to fill out with additional information. For an application to be considered eligible, landlords must submit the additional documentation before their application period closes on August 30th.

A third party software will randomize all eligible applications submitted between August 10 and 28 to select which are funded. The rent assistance can be used to help families catch up on rent payment and, in some cases, cover upcoming payments. 

Apply online at era.ihda.org.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for Americaan initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.