Emergency Rental Assistance: The Basics

The Emergency Rental Assistance programs

There are two federally-funded programs, designed to help tenants who are behind on rent. They will reopen later this year.

  • State of Illinois (IL Housing Development Authority/IHDA) and
    City of Chicago (Dep’t of Housing)
  • Tenants can apply for funds
  • Housing providers can apply for funds

If tenant applies:

  • The program will to try find housing provider, and
  • if a match is found, funds will be sent to the housing provider;
  • If no match is found or the tenant doesn’t respond, funds are sent to the tenant.

If a housing provider applies:

  • The program will reach out to the tenant.
  • If the tenant confirms the information, funds will be sent to the housing provider;
  • If the tenant does not confirm the information, no funds will be sent.

Communicate with your tenants.

Key message: this program is for them.

  • They could be eligible for thousands of dollars in benefits.
  • It could pay their back rent.
  • You will apply on their behalf, and they should be on the look-out for a notice from the program.

Confirm contact information.

  • You may need an exact match of contact info to get your assistance.
  • If your tenant submits an application, or responds to your application,
    without an exact match on contact info,
    there could be a problem.
  • Confirm your tenant’s email and phone number.
    If they don’t have email, there are ways to help them get one.
  • Confirm the email and phone number you want them to use
    (e.g., the office phone not the custodian’s phone, or
    info@housingprovider.com not yourname@housingprovider.com.)

Let them know the documents they will need to confirm the application.

  • Offer to help locate them.
  • Offer help with scanning them, if they need it.

Help options for the Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP):

Consider working with one of IHDA’s delegate agencies, for hands-on help, or for your tenants.

  • For example, Northside Community Development Corporation serves the northeast side of Chicago: ILRPP@northsidecr.org 773-262-2290 x34

The City program will reopen this winter.

  • Note: it recommended that you apply to both programs.
  • You will only receive one award (IHDA’s system syncs with the City’s to ensure that).
  • But explain to your tenant that you are applying twice for them,
    that they should cooperate with both requests for information,
    and that there will only be one award on their behalf

How is the City program different from the State’s IHDA program?

Through the City program:

  1. Tenants receiving other subsidies (ie. Section 8 vouchers) are eligible for rental assistance on the tenant portion of their rent.
  2. Tenants current on their rent and without arrears, but who are otherwise eligible, may apply for up to three months of future rent.
  3. Housing Providers are allowed to include late fees.
  4. There is no $25,000 cap per apartment.
  5. Housing providers can collect 2020 arrearage – so long as the housing provider reduces 2020 indebtedness by the $5,000 received from the State’s IHDA program
  6. Covers utilities and utility arrearages for up to 12 months of unpaid bills and three months of future payments.

Tip: Funds are NOT first-come first-served.

  • Take your time to complete your applications correctly.
  • Once submitted, you can’t correct your application.

Tip: City of Chicago program.

  • You can submit a spreadsheet with a list of your units by address.
  • This will facilitate matching tenant-initiated requests with housing providers.
  • Check the City’s site for formatting requirements.

Additional resources: