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Housing Committee gives updates on Illinois Rental Payment Program

Illinois tenants behind on their rent can receive a one-time grant of up to $25,000 paid directly to their landlord on their behalf under the $75 million COVID-19 affordable housing grant program.

If a landlord does not sign off on the program, tenants can apply to receive a grant directly, according to the Illinois Housing Committee and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

The Illinois Rental Payment Program will provide an additional $297 million in taxpayer dollars  to renters and landlords to prevent evictions.

The assistance covers up to 18 months of emergency rental payments, including up to 15 months of missed payments and up to three months of future payments.

The program started taking applications in December 2021. IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust provided an update Wednesday on how the program has doing.

“The IDHA board has approved $72.7 million in COVID-19 affordable housing grant program funds,” Faust said. “They have gone to 20 developments containing 1,094 units.”

Faust also discussed the average cost of each development during the first round of funding.

The average cost of each grant was about $3.6 million per project, Faust said, and covered 17 communities across 11 counties.

State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi said during committee that she worries the funding is not going to the people who need it most.

“You are getting a larger developer to do these projects and take advantage of the money,” Mazzochi said. “Not necessarily our smaller mom and pop unit holders, where this money would make a difference.”

Faust said the program would be able to provide additional assistance after additional funding is made available.

“In 2022, the Illinois General Assembly allocated an additional $150 million for the COVID-19 affordable housing grant program,” Faust said. “This will allow IDHA to fund even more units of affordable housing.”

Mazzochi asked Faust how the program intends to adjust to inflation.

“Construction costs have been going up roughly 15 to 35 percent depending on new construction or what your finishes are and those types of things,” Mazzochi said. “We are concerned about that.”

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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