COVID-19 Resources Related to Housing & Homelessness
Housing Action will make daily updates with new resources as they become available. If you need housing or homelessness assistance for yourself or someone you know, please refer to our Get Help with Housing resources.
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Important Federal Updates
- American Rescue Plan Includes $50 Billion for Housing and Homelessness: On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act. The COVID-19 relief package includes almost $50 billion in essential housing and homelessness assistance, including including more than $27 billion for rental assistance, $10 billion for homeowner assistance, $5 billion for homelessness assistance, $4.5 billion for utility assistance, $100 million for housing counseling and $20 million for fair housing activities. We are still working to determine what resources will be available to assist people and communities in Illinois. We will share more details in the coming days and weeks. Thanks to all members of Congress who supported passage of this package.
- Emergency Rental Assistance: In December 2020, lawmakers passed a COVID-19 relief package that includes $25 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance program to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The allocation for rental assistance programs in Illinois is $834,709,843. See the “Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance” section below for information on local programs and application timelines. Learn more about current, prior, and pending federally funded emergency rental assistance programs for 2021 here.
The Illinois State Eviction Moratorium is active through May 1, 2021
The Federal Eviction Moratorium is active through June 30, 2021
Protections Against Eviction in Illinois
A recent Executive Order from Governor Pritzker, which extended the deadline into April, also improved the statewide moratorium. Landlords are prohibited from initiating eviction actions unless a tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property. The Executive Order does not relieve any individual of the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation that they may have pursuant to a lease or rental agreement.
Tenants who are unable to pay rent must submit a Tenant Declaration Form, which you can download here (available in English, Arabic, Chinise, Hindi, Polish, Spanish, and Tagalog).
National Federal Eviction Moratorium
Learn about this measure: Know Your Rights: COVID-19 Eviction Protection Ordinance
Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance
We are very grateful for the state and federal programs intended to help residents make rent and mortgage payments, although they are insufficient to meet existing needs. If you are at risk of homelessness, contact your local Continuum of Care contact.
ACTIVE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS:
In December 2020, lawmakers passed a federal COVID-19 relief package that includes $25 billion for the Emergency Rental Assistance program to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are provided directly to States, U.S. Territories, local governments, and Indian tribes. In most cases, payments will be made directly to rental property owners.
The allocation for rental assistance programs in Illinois is $834,709,843. This will be distributed via statewide and local programs from:
- Champaign County: Program now open »
- City of Chicago: Opening for applications in May 2021. Check back for website info.
- Cook County (suburban residents only): Program closed on April 9; learn more »
- DuPage County: Opening for applications in May 2021, in partnership with IHDA.
- Kane County: Opening for applications in May 2021, in partnership with IHDA.
- Lake County: Program now open »
- Madison County: Program now open »
- McHenry County: Program now open »
- Winnebago County: Program now open (deadline: April 15) »
- Will County: Opening for applications in May 2021, in partnership with IHDA. Learn more »
- St. Clair County: Opening for applications in May 2021, in partnership with IHDA. Learn more »
- State of Illinois: IHDA anticipates opening for applications in May 2021. Learn more and check here for updates. IDHS will also have a program, also likely opening in May 2021.
For the State of Illinois, Cook County and Chicago programs, chicookilrenthelp.org provides details on eligibility requirements and documents people will need in order to apply.
We will post links to other programs as they become available.
Please note that people can apply to both the state and local programs, but people cannot receive assistance to pay rent for the same month from two different sources.
- City of Chicago Department of Family & Support Services: Program now open (deadline to apply: extended to April 16) »
If you are need additional resources to help pay your rent, especially if you are risk of homelessness, please contact a homeless service provider through the coordinated entry network for your local Continuum of Care »
Go directly to these sections:
General Housing & Human Services
Homeless Service Providers
Helping Homeowners & Renters
» Mortgage Assistance & Foreclosure
» Rental Assistance & Eviction
» Bank Updates & Financial Assistance
» Utility Assistance
Housing Providers & Managers
Nonprofit Operations & Funding
Resources for Immigrants
National & Global
State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Website
For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email email@example.com.
State of Illinois Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation
The state disaster proclamation was extended for 30 days as of June 26, and many Executive Orders related to COVID-19 were reissued.
General Housing and Human Services
National Low Income Housing Coalition: COVID-19 Resources
Information on how advocates and government around the country are responding, as well as impact on people experiencing homelessness and low-income households.
CARES Act Provisions for Homelessness & Housing
In late March, Congress passed the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which provides more than $12 billion in funding for HUD programs to help address homelessness and housing. This breakdown from the National Low Income Housing Coalition explains the allocation of those resources.
An online platform for providing program information, guidance, services, and tools to HUD’s community partners.
Help Illinois Families Initiative
A new initiative to help Illinois families access and afford home energy assistance and other essential services during COVID-19. Building on the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, the State’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) budget authorizes an expansion of the LIHEAP and CSBG programs for eligible Illinoisans seeking emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food, and other household necessities.
Illinois Housing Development Authority COVID-19 Housing Resources
Information on homeownership and rental assistance, multifamily finance updates, and asset management.
Your Rights to Housing and Public Benefits After Leaving Illinois State Prisons
This resource from Shriver Center explains access to benefits such as public housing, Section 8, medical benefits, SNAP (food assistance), TANF (cash assistance), and guidelines around state IDs after an individual has left an Illinois prison.
Using funding from FEMA’s Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program (CCP), Illinois Strong has partnered with community providers to offer free COVID-19 crisis counseling and other mental health services for those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. For immediate 24/7 support call or text (800) 985-5990.
Homeless Service Providers
Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Message to Homeless Service Providers
On March 20, IDHS announced that they will be making $6 million available for isolation housing for people experiencing homelessness through local CoCs, as well as increasing homeless service providers’ funding by 5% to increase capacity.
Expansion of Services for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Survivors
On April 2, the Illinois Department of Human Services announced a $1.2 million plan to increase the capacity of its statewide network of services for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan creates a one-stop access point for shelter needs.
All Chicago Making Homelessness History
Resources for Chicago homeless service providers. All Chicago will also be hosting weekly webinars to share information.
Helping Homeowners & Renters
CFPB COVID-19 Resources for Renters & Homeowners
Resources compiled by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help struggling renters and homeowners in need of forbearance or mortgage relief. (March 2, 2021)
FHFA Extends Foreclosure and REO Eviction Moratoriums and COVID Forbearance Period
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) are extending the moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until June 30, 2021. FHFA also announced that borrowers with a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac may be eligible for an additional forbearance extension of up to three months. Eligibility is limited to borrowers who are on a COVID-19 forbearance plan as of February 28, 2021, and other limits may apply. Further, COVID-19 Payment Deferral for borrowers with an Enterprise-backed mortgage can now cover up to 18 months of missed payments. (February 25, 2021)
Telehealth Support for Housing Counselors in Illinois
The Community Service Council, a member and Intermediary Affiliate of Housing Action Illinois, is offering professional clinical counseling to help housing counselors deal with anxiety, stress, and other related issues during this uncertain time. To make an appointment for a virtual session call (815) 886-5000.
HIV Resource Hub + COVID-19 Financial Assistance
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Center on Halsted can help with emergency financial assistance (rent, utility payments) for people who are living with HIV and who are HIV-negative and taking PrEP, as well as connect people with case management, medical care, food, and more.
Rental Assistance & Eviction
HUD Notice: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Eviction Moratorium
Background and guidance on HUD’s policies and procedures regarding the eviction relief provided to tenants of certain multifamily properties under the CARES Act. This Notice extends the moratorium on evictions for all HUD-insured or HUD-held mortgages while under forbearance and provides guidance on tenant protections for multifamily properties not subject to forbearance and those with HUD-assisted units. HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and Office of Multifamily Housing Programs (Multifamily) have each made resident-oriented flyers explaining the CARES Act eviction moratorium. PIH’s one-page flyer is available in 20 languages.
This accessible, easily navigable site is intended to help renters facing eviction by helping them find out if their building is covered by the federal eviction moratorium, informing them about local eviction protections, and connecting them with local legal aid resources. It was developed by The Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj after their episode on the current and looming eviction crisis.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Resources Finder
To help renters find out if they are protected from evictions during the COVID-19 national health emergency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) have created online multifamily property lookup tools.
Executive Order Expanding Moratorium on Evictions in Illinois
In April 2020, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker took an important step to protect people against evictions by issuing a new Executive Order expanding the existing moratorium on law enforcement carrying out eviction and foreclosures, to also restrict the filing of eviction cases solely for nonpayment. Eviction cases can still be filed if the tenant poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants, an immediate and severe risk to property, or a violation of any applicable building code, health ordinance, or similar regulation. The Executive Order does not relieve any individual or entity from the obligation to pay rent or comply with any other obligation they might have pursuant to a lease or rental agreement. Additional info explaining the Executive Order is available from Illinois Realtors here. The order has been re-issued in its entirety and extended each month. Most recently, Governor Pritzker re-issued and extended it through April 3. (March 8, 2021)
Local – See “Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance” box at top of page
Mortgage Assistance & Foreclosure
HUD Issues New CARES Act Mortgage Payment Relief for FHA Single Family Homeowners
On April 1, HUD announced a tailored set of mortgage payment relief options for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.
Biden Administration Announces Extension of COVID-19 Forbearance and Foreclosure Protections for Homeowners
In February 2021, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Agriculture announced a coordinated extension and expansion of forbearance and foreclosure relief programs for homeowners with federally backed mortgages.. These critical protections were due to expire in March, leaving many at risk of falling further into debt and losing their homes. Now, homeowners will receive urgently needed relief as we face this unprecedented national emergency. This action will extend the foreclosure moratorium for homeowners through June 30, 2021; extend the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window until June 30, 2021 for borrowers who wish to request forbearance; and provide up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments, for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020. (February 16, 2021)
FHFA Announces Payment Deferral as New Repayment Option for Homeowners in COVID-19 Forbearance Plans
This newly announced payment deferral option allows borrowers, who are able to return to making their normal monthly mortgage payment, the ability to repay their missed payments at the time the home is sold, refinanced, or at maturity.
The Urban Institute: Homeowners’ Guide to Mortgage Solutions During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship or a loss of income due to COVID-19 may be eligible for temporary mortgage payment relief. This guide explains what assistance is available and how to obtain it.
FHFA Extends COVID-19 Multifamily Forbearance through June 30, 2021
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will continue to offer COVID-19 forbearance to qualifying multifamily property owners through June 30, 2021, subject to the continued tenant protections FHFA has imposed during the pandemic. The programs were set to expire March 31, 2021. Property owners with Enterprise-backed multifamily mortgages can enter a new or, if qualified, modified forbearance if they experience a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency. (March 17, 2021)
Mortgagee Letter 2021-05
Extensions of Single Family Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium, Start Date of COVID-19 Initial Forbearance, and HECM Extension Period; Expansion of COVID-19 Loss Mitigation Options (February 16, 2021)
Illinois & Local – See “Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance” box at top of page
Bank Updates & Financial Assistance
American Bankers Association: Bank Responses to COVID-19
An alphabetical list of publicly announced steps banks of all sizes have taken to respond to the crisis.
Expansion of CRA Credit for Activities in Response to COVID-19
Joint statement from the Federal Reserve System, FDIC, and the OCC providing guidance to financial institutions on receiving credit on their Community Reinvestment Act activities to low- and moderate-income people and communities affected by the coronavirus.
IDFPR, Banks, and Advocacy Groups Work Together to Help to Unbanked Cash Stimulus Checks
New options for unbanked Illinoisans seeking to cash their stimulus checks without incurring check cashing fees. A number of banking institutions (including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Fifth Third and First Midwest, and others), will work with non-customers on cashing their stimulus checks for free.
Get My Payment Illinois
Straightforward website that pulls together clear information to help Illinoisans get their stimulus payments and answer related questions. Includes resources to help nonprofits spread the word. Created by a nonprofit coalition.
State of Illinois Economic Assistance
Information and updates on unemployment assistance, utility relief, food access, loans for small businesses, and the process of filing a federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage.
Farmworker & Landscape Advocacy Project COVID-19 Cash Assistance
FLAP is Farmworker & Landscaper Advocacy Project is providing one-time $500 cash assistance for those financially affected by COVID-19. Those employed in the landscaping, snow plowing, packing, cannery, farms, nursery, greenhouse, and meat and poultry industries and experiencing financial hardship due to the effort to contain COVID-19 are eligible for this assistance. To apply for this cash assistance program, send a phone number, valid ID with current address, paystub, and explanation of what you do at work to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 Protections for Large Utility Customers from Illinois Attorney General
Breakdown of the COVID-19 protections that apply to electric customers of Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and Ameren Illinois; gas customers of Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas, and Peoples Gas; and water customers of Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, and Utilities Services of Illinois.
COVID-19 Protections for Small Utility Customers from Illinois Attorney General
Breakdown of the COVID-19 protections that apply to customers of the following small, regulated utility service providers: Consumers Gas. Co., Illinois Gas Co., Liberty Utilities Corp., MidAmerican Energy Co., and Mt. Carmel Public Utility Co.
State Regulated Utility Moratorium Extended through Winter 2021 for Eligible Customers
The Illinois Commerce Commission announced the moratorium on disconnections has voluntarily been extended by several state regulated utilities through the Winter 2021 for eligible low-income residential customers, and those who self-report to utilities that they are experiencing financial or COVID-19 hardship. Previously, several of the utilities had voluntarily agreed to extend the moratorium on shutoffs for residential customers until September 30, 2020. (September 23)
Attorney General Raoul Reminds Illinois Residents of Winter Moratorium on Utility Shut-Offs
Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today urged Illinois utility customers to be aware that state-regulated electric and natural gas utilities are prohibited from shutting off power and gas for customers under state law through the winter. All customers, regardless of financial situations cannot be disconnected through March 31, 2021 to protect the public during the cold winter months. Even with the moratorium, Raoul encourages residents who are behind on their bills to contact their utilities to learn about assistance options.
City of Chicago Utility Billing Relief Program
In partnership with the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA), the City of Chicago is launching the Utility Billing Relief Program, intended to make water, sewer, and water-sewer tax bills more affordable for qualifying Chicago residents.
National Housing Law Project: Renter and Homeowner Rights During COVID-19
Resources for attorneys, advocates, policymakers, and others supporting renters and homeowners during the COVID-19 national public health crisis.
National Consumer Law Center: Major Consumer Protections in Response to COVID-19
Updates on actions from Congress, governors, federal and state agencies, and businesses to protect consumers in light of the COVID-19 epidemic. Includes information on suspensions of foreclosures, evictions, and terminations of telecommunications and utility service, elimination of interest and forbearance on student loan payments, limits on debt collection, and more.
Illinois Court System
Includes information for Supreme Court, Appellate Court and county circuit courts.
Illinois Courts Response to the CARES Act
The Illinois courts declare compliance with the CARES Act when it comes to evictions. This will remain in effect until August 24, 2020 or further order of the Court.
Illinois Legal Aid Online: Legal Issues During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Legal resources related to housing, work, court proceedings, health care, public benefits, and more.
Free Legal Help for Residents of Cook County
If you are a resident of Cook County and are dealing with an eviction, unresolved debt, or unpaid mortgage or property taxes, you may be eligible for free legal help through Cook County Legal Aid and the Early Resolution Program (ERP). You do not need to have a case in court to be eligible for assistance. Call 855-956-5763 today to learn more and get help.
Cook County Chief Judge Evans Extends Postponement of Most Court Cases
Many criminal and civil cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County were initially postponed for a 30-day period; on March 30, 2020, Judge Evans extended this through May 18. An amendment on May 28 orders extensions into July and August. Emergency requests in civil matters will be permitted. No orders for an eviction or foreclosure will be entered during the 30-day period. Civil lawsuits may still be filed in person or via electronic filing.
Housing Providers and Managers
The Public Housing Authorities Directors Association
Includes links to local housing authorities’ contingency plans, policies and procedures, and other outreach in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
LeadingAge Coronavirus Resources
Guidance and tools for aging services providers, including staffing resources, media tools, and more.
Illinois Realtors COVID-19 Resources
Guidance for realtors on open houses, showings, unemployment, property management, and more.
DCEO: Phase 3 Recovery Guidance for Real Estate Licensees and Consumers
Guidance for realtors on open houses and showings under Phase 3 (Recovery) of the “Restore Illinois” plan.
Illinois Housing Council
COVID-19 resources for affordable housing developers based in Illinois.
Nonprofit Operations & Funding
CARES Act Funding for Nonprofits
Through the CARES Act, organizations with 500 or fewer employees were be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans to meet payroll and associated costs such as health insurance premiums, facilities costs, and debt service. Some loans will qualify for loan forgiveness.
Enterprise: Resilient Futures Resources
This collection of resources is intended to support housing nonprofits as they navigate and recover from the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund
This fund formed to disburse grants to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The last application deadline was July 24.
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) COVID-19 Emergency Supplemental Funding
ICJIA announced on July 14 it will make $7.1 million in funding available to organizations providing support services and resources to communities hit hardest by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The application deadline was July 24.
COVID-19 DD Relief Fund
The Arc of Illinois, in partnership with the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, is providing funds to assist providers in filling gaps in services that people with developmental disabilities and families are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois COVID-19 Community Collaboration Fund
BCBSIL has opened a $1.5M funding program to support community-based organizations with missions focused on access to health care, hunger and shelter through $20,000 grants to organizations around the state. Applications were due April 24.
Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund
This initiative unites funds raised by philanthropies, corporations and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the region. Initial awards were announced in May.
Chicago COVID-19 Homeless System Agency Emergency Fund
All Chicago announced this new fund on March 27; it will provide unrestricted and flexible emergency financial assistance to homeless service agencies as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund will make grants on a rolling basis via multiple application rounds.
A Better Chicago Emergency Relief Fund
Nonprofits can request grants for providing direct financial support (e.g. stipends to students who have lost work); providing essential goods and services (e.g. groceries); or rapidly innovating to continue delivering high-quality programming (e.g. virtual instruction). A Better Chicago anticipates making grants ranging from $20K-$100K over three to six months.
COVID-19 Response Fund for the Greater Capital Region of Illinois
Hosted by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln in partnership with United Way of Central Illinois, who have seeded the fund with $50,000, the COVID-19 Response Fund will provide resources to local nonprofit organizations in response to coronavirus in our region.
Local COVID-19 Response Funds Throughout Illinois
Forefront has compiled a list of emergency funds for Champaign, Chicagoland, Decatur, DuPage County, Evanston, Fox Valley, Freeport, Grundy County, Kankakee, Knox and Warren County, Lake County, McHenry County, Morton Oak Park-River Forest, Quad Cities, Quincy, Springfield, and Will County.
Chicagoland COVID-19 Community Development Resource Guide
The Chicago Community Loan Fund and Project Forward created this curated guide of resources to help nonprofits, arts and recreational organizations, small-scale real estate firms, social enterprises, worker and food cooperatives, community retailers and other small businesses navigate the myriad grants, loans and other resources available from public and private sources in response to COVID-19.
Small Business Recovery Initiative
As part of Cook County’s ongoing COVID-19 Community Recovery Initiative efforts, the Bureau of Economic Development, in partnership with more than 35 county-wide organizations, is providing critical support for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications were due on October 6, 2020.
Resources for Immigrants
American Public Health Association
Fact sheets in various languages (English, Spanish, French and Chinese) on how to protect yourself from COVID-19.
FAQ on CARES Act and Immigrants from NLIHC, NHLP, and NILC
Information about immigrants’ eligibility for various housing and financial assistance programs in addition to implications for public charge determinations.
Protecting Immigrant Families – Illinois
PIF-IL has developed guidance in English and in Spanish to help enrollment assisters answer questions community members may have about possible public charge consequences due to accessing specific public benefits and programs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Chicago Executive Order to Protect Immigrant and Refugee Communities During COVID-19
On April 7, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot signed an executive order explicitly ensuring that all benefits, opportunities, and services provided or administered by the City of Chicago are accessible to all residents, regardless of birth country or current citizenship status.
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