Chicago Department of Housing Receives Over 26,000 Applications for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

June 21, 2021

Applications request a total of $137 million in total aid, including $24.2 million in utility payment assistance


For its third round of emergency rental assistance program since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) has received a total of 26,843 total applications during the three-week open application period. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) includes nearly $80 million funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act signed into law by Congress in December 2020 to provide up to 15 months of rental assistance, 12 months of past due payments and three months of future payments, and utility payment assistance for impacted renters.

“The number of applications and the aid being requested by landlords and renters demonstrate how many are still in need of assistance 18 months after the onset of the pandemic,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “While the current aid requested surpasses our current funding capacity, we will help as many as possible and look to open another round of assistance later this year.”

Chicago’s ERAP, along with other county and state assistance programs are designed to keep Chicago renters in their homes as well as avoid the kind of multifamily foreclosures that were seen in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, eviction moratoriums at the state and federal levels have provided some protection to tenants who have lost income. However, last month, Governor Pritzker announced that the state moratorium on pandemic-related evictions will be phased out by August. During this time, landlords have also struggled to pay their bills due to reduced rent collections. ERAP represents crucial assistance to Chicago renters to avoid a wave of evictions, and to Chicago property owners to avoid foreclosures and resulting housing instability.

The Chicago ERAP application portal, designed by Unqork, opened on May 24 and closed on Tuesday, June 15. DOH partnered with The Resurrection Project for application intake and case management services to administer 75% of the funds. During the application period DOH received:

  • 26,843 total applications
    • 4,267 are tenant-landlord matched 
    • 12,687 are tenant-only
    • 9,889 are landlord-onl
  • $137.0 million in total aid requested
    • $112.9 million in rental assistance
    • $24.2 million in utility assistance

Below is a map of tenant applications by zip code:


 Tenant applications by zip code


In addition to The Resurrection Project, additional application processing will be performed by over a dozen community delegate agencies. Landlords were able to apply on behalf of a tenant and register their properties online, however, require a tenant match in order to process. DOH and its partners will continue outreach to non-matched applications in the coming weeks to encourage further submissions. Applicants will receive status updates over the next two weeks.

In March 2020, DOH opened its first rental assistance program funded with $2 million from its Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund providing 2,000 one-time 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. A second round, the Chicago Housing Assistance program, launched with the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) supported by funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Chicago’s philanthropic community. Through this second round, DOH and DFSS provided over $33 million in assistance to over 10,000 households. In addition to direct financial relief, DOH has funded pro-bono eviction counseling for low-and moderate-income Chicagoans and authored and passed several ordinances, including the COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance and the Fair Notice Act, to protect renters.


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