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The Chicago Department of Housing announces over $100 Million in new housing assistance

On November 22, the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) announced a new application period will open on Monday, December 6, 2021, for its latest round of rental assistance for tenants and landlords financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This second Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) application round, which will close at 11:59 PM on Saturday, December 18, 2021, includes $102 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and will offer up to 18 months of rental assistance and utility payment assistance for impacted renters. To date, the City of Chicago has provided over $110 million in direct financial assistance and legal services to impacted Chicagoans since the onset of the pandemic.

“Since our first round of rental assistance at the beginning of the pandemic last year, we have seen a steady increase in the need for housing and utility assistance across the city that must be addressed,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “That’s why we are implementing this latest round of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will give more residents the housing stability and security they need in order to not only stay afloat during this crisis, but thrive long after it is over.”

The City of Chicago prioritized households earning 50% of the area median income (AMI) ($46,600 for a family of four) and below. In this next round of ERAP, DOH will continue to prioritize those households to continue stabilizing families hardest hit by the pandemic. To date, through ERAP funds the City has assisted over 8,600 households with rent and utility payments, with an average rental assistance of $8,900 and average utility assistance of $800 per applicant.

This second round of ERAP represents the City’s fourth round of direct rental grants since the onset of the pandemic. In March 2020, DOH opened its first rental assistance program funded with $2 million from its Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund providing 2000 onetime 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.

DOH will continue its partnership with The Resurrection Project (TRP) for case management services to administer the funds through the online platform designed by Unqork for this second round of ERAP. Additional in-take 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.

This round of ERAP will provide up to $2,500 per month for up to 15 months of past-due rent and three months of future payments. Eligible tenants will also be able to apply to receive up to 18 months (15 past due, three future months) of utility payments. The maximum number of months residents can receive ERAP assistance is 18 months between both application rounds.

When the application period opens on December 6, in addition to applying online at Chicago.gov/renthelp, residents will be able to visit a partner community organization to apply for assistance in person. Times and hours

will be limited, and landlords and tenants are encouraged to apply online. Applications will be accepted starting 10 am on Monday, December 6 through 11:59 pm Saturday, December 18, 2021.

To be eligible, tenants must:
• Live in Chicago;
• Have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;

• Be at risk of housing instability;

• Have earned less than the maximum household income during 2020 or at the time of application; and

• Grants will prioritize households at 50% of AMI and below

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 latest Emergency Rental Assistance Program is of the Lightfoot Administration’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has included 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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