Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday that the state’s ban on evictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be phased out during the next three months before expiring in August.
Promising additional details in the coming weeks, Pritzker’s announcement would mean that the state’s ban on most evictions would last nearly 17 months after beginning in March 2020 when the governor ordered Illinois residents to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Illinois residents who lost their jobs or found their paychecks scaled back because of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for up to $25,000 to cover missed rent payments. Applications and eligibility standards are available online at illinoishousinghelp.org.
“Help is on the way,” Pritzker said.
In all, state officials plan to send $1.1 billion to Illinois renters and landlords in an effort to prevent evictions. A separate program, which has not yet launched, will offer $400 million in mortgage assistance to homeowners, officials said.
Flanked by dozens of state officials and Democratic lawmakers, Pritzker signed HB2877 into law, which will distribute the funds and includes a provision to automatically seal eviction court records between March 2020 and March 2022 to help Illinois residents who are evicted find new places to live.
“This is a critical first step to preventing a housing crisis,” said state Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago.)
The new round of assistance “will help to stabilize neighborhood housing, and stem the mounting disinvestment in many neighborhoods,” said Michael Glasser, president of the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance.
Approximately 21,000 households in Chicago could be evicted from their rental homes once the ban is lifted, according to a forecast released in December by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and the Center for Urban Research & Learning at Loyola University.
A recent survey by the Neighborhood Building Owners Alliance found that Chicago housing providers have not been paid $1 billion in rent since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Illinois Housing Development Authority program could provide residents with 15 months of rental assistance to cover past-due rent from the previous 12 months and three additional months for a total of no more than $25,000, officials said.
In the summer and fall of 2020, state officials sent $329 million to 56,000 households amid the pandemic.
The next round of payments will aid more than 120,000 households, officials said.
Additional funds are available through the state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Utility Disconnection Avoidance Program, officials said. Applications and eligibility standards are available online at HelpIllinoisFamilies.com.
Chicago officials plan to launch another round of rental assistance grants with $80 million from the December relief package by the end of May, said Asha Binbek, a spokesperson for Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
While a moratorium on most evictions in Illinois has been in place since March 2020, Pritzker modified the eviction ban to cover only renters who earn less than $99,000 annually — or $198,000 if a couple files jointly — to align with the federal ban on evictions, officials said.
Those who cannot pay their rent must submit a form to their landlord declaring that the pandemic has made it impossible for them to pay all or a portion of their rent. That form is available at ihda.org.
The state ban will remain in place until at least May 29, and the federal ban will remain in place for now as President Joe Biden’s administration appeals a ruling striking down the nationwide ban, which the president had extended until June 30.
A Chicago law will automatically extend the ban on evictions in the city for an additional two months after the state’s ban is lifted, officials said.
The COVID-19 relief package signed into law by Biden in March includes another $25 billion in rental assistance funds set to flow to states and cities in the coming months, officials said.
Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]