Trump Administration & Congress Must Go Back to Negotiating Table

We are extremely disappointed and troubled that President Trump and Congressional leaders have not come to a decision on a COVID-19 relief package. Legislators must pass a comprehensive relief bill with housing resources to help people maintain or secure homes during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

You may have seen that President Trump issued an executive order on evictions. This executive order is “an empty shell of a promise that does nothing to prevent evictions and homelessness,” as the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Diane Yentel has stated, “and acts only to mislead renters into believing that they are protected when they are not.”

In the midst of this lack of progress, we greatly appreciate the Illinois legislators who continue working to secure crucial resources needed to assist our communities. We are grateful for the ongoing efforts of Senator Duckworth, Senator Durbin, Representative Bustos, Representative Garcia, Representative Schakowsky, and others.
President Trump and his administration must go back to the negotiating table with Congress and work out a comprehensive deal that includes:

  • A national, uniform moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures
  • $100 billion in emergency rental assistance
  • $75 billion in mortgage assistance
  • $11.5 billion in emergency resources to help prevent and respond to outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness

An estimated 508,000 to 762,000 households in Illinois are at risk of eviction, according to the Aspen Institute. In the absence of swift and robust intervention, these Illinoisans may soon lose their homes.
Along with the housing resources listed above, any final agreement should extend expanded unemployment benefits and provide financial assistance to state and local governments experiencing revenue shortfalls.
Governor Pritzker recently stated that Illinois faces “extraordinarily painful” budget cuts if the federal government fails to provide states with relief funding to make up for tax revenue shortfalls caused by pandemic response efforts. Almost all of the state budget funds basic human needs, including programs that create affordable housing and end homelessness.

Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance Currently Available

We are very grateful for the Illinois programs are currently or will soon be available to help residents make rent and mortgage payments, although they are insufficient to meet existing needs. We recommend that eligible applicants apply as soon as possible. All the funding for these housing assistance programs comes from the federal government, specifically the CARES Act that was signed into law at the end of March.
The following resources are available:

Illinois Emergency Rental Assistance
The IHDA COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program (ERA) opened for applications yesterday, August 10, at Applications will be accepted August 10 – August 21. However, due to anticipated high volume, the application window may close early.

Illinois Emergency Mortgage Assistance
The IHDA COVID-19 Emergency Mortgage Assistance program (EMA) will open for applications on August 24 at

Cook County Rental Assistance
Cook County’s COVID-19 rental assistance program also opened for applications on Monday, August 10, at Residents of suburban Cook County may submit applications until August 18.

Chicago Rental Assistance
The Chicago rental assistance program is continuing to accept applications at through August 14 or until 250,000 applications are received, whichever comes first.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible? Who will be awarded funds?

  • The application and eligibility requirements are somewhat different for all these programs, but all funds will be awarded based on a random selection of eligible applicants (anticipating that more people will apply than can be assisted).
  • People can apply for the City of Chicago or Cook County suburbs program and the IHDA program, but can’t actually receive funds from more than one program.
What if someone doesn’t qualify for these programs?

  • For individuals who can’t qualify to apply for the these programs, or don’t get funding, there are other resources such as the IDHS Homeless Prevention Program, for which they may qualify.
  • Other counties, such as Lake County, have additional COVID-19 rental assistance resources for their local residents. Especially outside of Cook County, the local community action agency is probably the best resource to find out about all the local resources available.
We appreciate that Governor Pritzker understands the need for additional federal funding. At a press conference announcing the launch of Illinois’ emergency rental assistance program, he stated, “The need here in Illinois and across the nation is tremendous. We anticipate there will be so many eligible and interested renters and homeowners that we won’t be able to give every deserving family help.” Governor Pritzker went on to say, “I will work with champions in the General Assembly and Congress to advocate for more federal assistance to keep people in their homes.”