After Illinois eviction ban ends, all eyes on rental financial assistance are available – NBC Chicago
This week marks a pivotal moment in the pandemic for Illinois housing providers and their tenants: a nearly 18-month state ban on evictions has ended.
The moratorium on evictions was officially lifted on October 4, a date some say would bring a flood of landlords and tenants to court.
So far, there is no sign of an influx of deportation requests. Fewer than two dozen eviction requests were filed in Illinois’ largest counties this week, according to figures obtained by NBC 5 Responds.
Some housing providers have said going to court is their only option now, as they face tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and barriers to accessing rent assistance funds through the state. .
Housing providers like Derrick Rowe.
Derrick owns an apartment building in Chatham, an area of ââwhich he is very proud.
âIt’s a very well known and prosperous region,â said Derrick. âI came here to be part of this community.
When the opportunity arose to become an affordable housing provider near 75th Street and Avenue des Prairies in 2016, Derrick says he jumped at the chance. Today, Derrick owns a total of 22 housing units.
âWhen I realized the building was for sale. I raised my hand. I fought really hard to get it, âDerrick said. âThen when the pandemic hit, it all kind of fell down. “
During the pandemic, Derrick says 80% of his tenants paid their rent or made payment plans. But the others stopped talking to him, let alone paying a dime.
Derrick told NBC 5 Responds that the amount of rent he now owes is in the tens of thousands of dollars.
When applying for the state rent assistance program, Derrick said some tenants had not played ball. A tenant was refused rental assistance. Another tried to shake it to get the tenant’s signature required to process the request.
“He knew he had to sign the form for me to get the funds for his rent assistance, and he said he wasn’t going to sign the form unless I paid him first,” he said. said Derrick.
Tenants also shared complications with NBC 5 Responds in accessing rental assistance funds.
Illinois is considered a national leader when it comes to handing out rent assistance funds, but tenants and landlords say they have to go through a complicated application process first. NBC 5 Respond’s Lisa Parker reports.
With no other choice left, Derrick said he would go to court. And he’ll probably be in good company.
While the moratorium on evictions was just lifted this week, deportation requests in court have been allowed for months.
Figures obtained by NBC 5 Responds show that some of Illinois’ largest counties – Cook, DuPage and Lake County – saw an increase in filings from August through September.
More than a dozen deportation requests were registered on October 4, the day the moratorium was lifted.
During the eviction process, housing providers and tenants will have one last chance to access rent assistance funds.
Case managers will be assigned to eviction proceedings, with the goal of liaising with landlords and tenants to see if they are eligible for funding to settle the case before an eviction is processed.
The latest US Treasury Department records show that in August, the state of Illinois as a whole distributed just under half of its first round of emergency rental assistance (ERA1) , with nearly $ 436 million to pay. .
By November, the Treasury Department said it could resume funding from a state or local government if it hasn’t distributed or earmarked at least 65%. This decision will be made based on each agency’s September figures, which are due to be sent to the Treasury Department on October 15.
Last week, before the end of the moratorium on evictions, Governor Pritzker gave the state a high mark in this category.
âWe have done a tremendous job of providing these resources to tenants,â said Pritzker. âHundreds of millions of dollars are available and have been made available to tenants. ”
Back in Chatham, watching the governor’s remarks didn’t ease Derrick Rowe’s anxiety. Rowe believes the process for accessing available rental assistance could be improved.
âI’ve heard of the millions and millions of dollars of funds available,â Rowe said. “I just wish it was a lot easier to get to because I can’t – I can’t see it.”
NBC 5 Responds has put together the full list of resources below for tenants and housing providers facing issues caused by COVID-19.
COVID Illinois HELP
WHAT DOES IT OFFER? : COVID Help Illinois is a free online resource for eviction and housing issues, as well as other legal issues caused by the pandemic. Staff at the website say it’s available 24/7 to anyone residing in the state of Illinois.
Illinois eviction assistance
Online and telephone resource
WHAT DOES IT OFFER? : Lawyers said the hotline is a state-funded network of 16 nonprofit organizations providing free legal aid, mediation services and connections to other resources, including rental assistance, in response to the eviction crisis. These services are funded through a partnership between the Illinois Department of Social Services and the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.
Illinois Rental Assistance Provider Network
WHAT DOES IT OFFER? : This website has resources available throughout the state of Illinois, including resources always accepting rental assistance requests. The website is operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA)
Cook County Housing and Debt Legal Aid, Rapid Resolution Program
Online and telephone resource
PHONE (For Residents of Cook County): 855-956-5763
WHAT DOES IT OFFER? : The Early Resolution Program (ERP) includes free legal aid, mediation services, and connections to other resources, including rent assistance. Mediation is a chance for a landlord and tenant, or debtor and creditor, to resolve issues with the help of a knowledgeable and neutral person.