The Department of Housing Issues Request for Proposals for Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Service provider will be responsible for processing applications for nearly $55 million in direct cash rental assistance grants to residents
The Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for an administrative service provider for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) for tenants and landlords economically impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The service provider will be responsible for case management and application processing for 75% of the $79.8 million the city has received through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act passed by Congress in December 2020.
“As we enter into this second year of the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for financial assistance for residents and housing providers continues to grow and threaten an eviction crisis,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “Through this RFP, DOH can select a service provider that will allow us to establish the staff and infrastructure necessary to keep residents safely housed and landlords solvent.”
The ERAP service provider will primarily be responsible for approximately $53.9 million in cash awards processing for an estimated 7,500 applications. In addition to case management and application processing, the service provider will also be expected to perform document review, provide in-person assistance as required especially for the disabled, and work with tenant and landlord applicants in multiple languages over email and telephone.
DOH is also directly contracting for an online application intake and management platform that will be used for all ERAP applications. Additionally, DOH is contracting with community-based organizations to act as both application navigators for tenants and landlords in their service areas, and in some cases provide application processing and case management services.
“During our first two rounds, our community-based organizations were key in servicing residents throughout the city, especially in areas hardest-hit by the pandemic, those with diverse language needs and those without online access,” said Daniel Hertz, DOH Director of Policy. “Together with the community organizations, service provider and management platform, we will be able get residents the resources they need to navigate this pandemic and stay safely housed.”
The economic fallout of the pandemic has exacerbated Chicago’s existing housing crisis with many Chicagoans experiencing income loss and unable to pay their rent in full or in part. At both the state and national level, there has been an eviction moratorium in place since Spring 2020, but many Chicagoans have lost their income and the duration of the pandemic has created further housing instability despite these moratoriums. The RFP will allow DOH to quickly bring online this third round of grant assistance for impacted renters and landlord property owners.
During the first two rounds of emergency rental assistance, DOH distributed over $34 million to nearly 10,000 households, alongside the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). In addition to direct financial relief, DOH also used federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to provide free legal assistance to renters experiencing lockouts or evictions.
The RFP for service providers is available now, and the window for submissions begins March 18, 2021. The Department of Housing will hold a virtual pre-bid conference on March 24, 2021 at 4pm CST. Details on the pre-bid conference will be available by visiting www.chicago.gov/eraprfp. All bids must be submitted via email to ERAPRFP@cityofchicago.org and received by 12pm, CST April 2, 2021. Once a service provider is chosen and trained, DOH expects to open the program up to residents and landlords in the Spring.
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