70,000 Illinoisans seek emergency rental payments


Illinois has received 70,000 applications from tenants and landlords for back rent payments because of COVID-19 hardships.

Rodrigo Carrillo, the director of Strategic Initiatives for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, says the department encouraged landlords to initiate applications on their tenants behalf during a three week period.

From May 13 through June 7, the department accepted applications for emergency rental relief that were initiated by landlords. To validate the applications, the tenants are required to sign off on the paperwork.

“As a Housing Authority, we are focused on keeping people housed and preventing an eviction crisis,” Carrillo said.

During the weeks when the emergency rental assistance application window for landlords was open, IHDA received 70,000 applications, Carrillo said.

“We are very pleased with the response,” he said. “We know the need is out there.”

The department is working to process the rental relief applications to head off evictions this summer, Carrillo said.

IHDA is prioritizing applications on behalf of people who are unemployed and those who have very low household incomes.

Even before the pandemic, more than 70% of families in the very-low income bracket in Illinois were spending 50% or more of their incomes on housing, IHDA said in a news release.

To find households most in need and encourage them to apply for emergency rental assistance, IHDA partnered with community service organizations up and down the state.

“The trend we saw in our applications is that the majority of our applications came from households with 30% AMI (area median income) or below,” Carrillo said. “Our goal was to get relief for households with the greatest need.”

The national median family income (MFI) is $79,900. Very-low income households make less than $23,970 a year, or less than 30% of the MFI.

To date, the Illinois Rental Payment Program has paid out $70 million to landlords on behalf of tenants in 87 counties, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement on June 23.

By the time the program is closed, the Illinois Rental Payment Program will ensure that more than 120,000 household renters see relief, the statement said.

The application process was closed to landlords on June 7. The final phase of the application process gives tenants a chance to apply directly for emergency back rent payments to their landlords. The tenant portal opened on June 28 and runs until midnight on July 18. If IHDA approves the applications, back rent payments will be made to landlords on their behalf.

Tenants can go online at https://ilrpp.ihda.org Emergency Rental Assistance Application and submit applications directly to IHDA. Tenants are able to submit applications – even if their landlords do not wish to cooperate in the application process. People without computers or people who want help with the application process can contact community services agencies who work with IHDA.

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