The Chicago Department of Housing Announces Over $100 Million in New Housing Assistance
The City’s latest Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) will provide up to 18 months of rental assistance for renters and landlords who have experienced a financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic
Today, the Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) announced a new application period will open on Monday December 6, 2021, for its latest round of rental assistance for tenants and landlords financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This second Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) application round, which will close at 11:59 PM on Saturday December 18, 2021, includes $102 million from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and will offer up to 18 months of rental assistance and utility payment assistance for impacted renters. To date, the City of Chicago has provided over $110 million in direct financial assistance and legal services to impacted Chicagoans since the onset of the pandemic.
"Since our first round of rental assistance at the beginning of the pandemic last year, we have seen a steady increase in the need for housing and utility assistance across the city that must be addressed," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "That's why we are implementing this latest round of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which will give more residents the housing stability and security they need in order to not only stay afloat during this crisis, but thrive long after it is over."
DOH opens this next round of applications as the $79.8 million received from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, enacted in December 2020, is now 100% obligated. Under the U.S. Treasury guidelines, 65% of these funds needed to be obligated by September 30. In meeting that deadline and fully obligating all its ERAP1 funds, the City of Chicago has far outperformed national averages; according to a dashboard updated by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, as of November 15 state agencies have only obligated 62% of ERAP1 funds. In addition, Chicago has qualified to request additional funds from the Treasury Department, which will reallocate unused dollars from programs that have obligated less than 30% of their ERAP1 funding.
“For the past two years the Department of Housing has not only focused on our mission of expanding housing choice and access across the entire City for all Chicagoans, but most importantly, we prioritized ensuring that our residents were able to remain safely in their homes in these unprecedented times,” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara. “I am excited that we are able to continue providing direct payments to Chicagoans that will not only stabilize families in the short term, but set them up for the future.”
The City of Chicago prioritized households earning 50% of the area median income (AMI) ($46,600 for a family of four) and below. In this next round of ERAP, DOH will continue to prioritize those households to continue stabilizing families hardest hit by the pandemic. To date, through ERAP funds the City has assisted over 8,600 households with rent and utility payments, with an average rental assistance of $8,900 and average utility assistance of $800 per applicant.
This second round of ERAP represents the City’s fourth round of direct rental grants since the onset of the pandemic. In March 2020, DOH opened its first rental assistance program funded with $2 million from its Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund providing 2000 onetime 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.
The Chicago Housing Assistance program launched with the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) in July 2020 supported by funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Chicago’s philanthropic community. Through this program DOH and DFSS provided over $33 million in assistance to over 10,000 households. In addition to direct financial relief, DOH has provided 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.
DOH will continue its partnership with The Resurrection Project (TRP) for case management services to administer the funds through the online platform designed by Unqork for this second round of ERAP. Additional intake and application processing will be performed by over a dozen delegate agencies and will include in-person services to assist residents with limited access to technology and ensure that residents in need are informed of available assistance.
“The Resurrection Project is proud to partner with the City of Chicago and our subgrantee organizations on this important initiative. ERAP provides much needed assistance to renters and landlords who continue to face hardship from the pandemic, and we look forward to continuing to play a lead role in getting these critical resources to Chicago residents.”
This round of ERAP will provide up to $2,500 per month for up to 15 months of past due rent and three months of future payments. Eligible tenants will also be able to apply to receive up to 18 months (15 past due, three future months) of utility payments. The maximum number of months residents can receive ERAP assistance is 18 months between both application rounds.
“We are proud to support the City of Chicago and the Department of Housing to distribute critical relief for families that need it,” said Angela Abernathy, Director, Government & Education, Unqork. “The City has done an exceptional job enabling Chicagoans to easily apply for relief, ensuring that funds are distributed quickly and securely for those who are eligible, while staying in compliance with Federal rules and regulations. We look forward to continuing to support this very impactful effort with the next round of federal funding.”
When the application period opens on December 6, in addition to applying online at Chicago.gov/renthelp, residents will be able to visit a partner community organization to apply for assistance in person. Times and hours will be limited, and landlords and tenants are encouraged to apply online. Applications will be accepted starting 10am on Monday, December 6 through 11:59pm Saturday, December 18, 2021. To be eligible, tenants must:
- Live in Chicago
- Have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Be at risk of housing instability
- Have earned less than the maximum household income listed below during 2020 or at the time of application
- Grants will prioritize households at 50% of AMI and below
Landlords can apply for assistance on behalf of a tenant. Landlords may also register their properties using the online application and be notified if a tenant has started the application process for rental assistance. Household income limits apply, and proof of address, income self-certification and other documentation are needed to qualify. Proof of citizenship is not a requirement for qualification. Funds will be distributed on a rolling basis.
The latest Emergency Rental Assistance Program is of the Lightfoot Administration’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has included economic relief, free legal assistance, and policy changes to protect residents. For more information about the Department of Housing’s programs and services, visit Chicago.gov/housing.
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About The Resurrection Project
The Resurrection Project (TRP) builds trusting relationships to educate and propel individuals, immigrants, and families to achieve their social and economic aspirations, stable homes, and equitable participation in their community. TRP is a leading provider of affordable housing, financial education, and immigration services on Chicago’s Southwest side. Since its founding in 1990, TRP has leveraged $625 million in neighborhood reinvestment, created 296,000 square feet of commercial community space, developed 864 units of affordable housing, and helped 670 prospective buyers become homeowners.
About Unqork/Unqork Rent Relief
Unqork is the industry pioneer no-code enterprise application platform that helps large companies build, deploy, and manage complex applications without writing a single line of code. Organizations like Goldman Sachs, Liberty Mutual, the Cities of New York and Washington, DC and Maimonides Medical Center are using Unqork's drag-and-drop interface to build enterprise applications faster, with higher quality, and lower costs than conventional approaches. To learn more, please visit: https://www.unqork.com.