COVID-19 Housing Resources Information

Covid19LandingPageImg

 

ILHAF UPDATE:

The Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF) is not accepting applications at this time. Reviews of completed ILHAF applications are in progress. Please continue to check your ILHAF account for application status updates and the illinoishousinghelp.org site for updates and information about future programs or resources that may become available.

If you have any questions, please contact the ILHAF call center at (866) 454-3571. The ILHAF Call Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Rental Assistance is Still Available Through IDHS

The Illinois Rental Payment Program is closed. If you missed the window to apply for assistance through IHDA, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is accepting applications for up to $25,000 in rental assistance on a rolling basis through the Illinois Rental Assistance Program.

Following Governor Pritzker’s request for social distancing to limit the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s (IHDA) office is closed to the public until further notice; however, IHDA remains open for business.

Our team is working hard to make sure IHDA programs and support remain available with zero interruptions in service.

For all general inquiries, call 312.836.5200 to be connected with the appropriate department. If you have questions regarding COVID-19, please call 800.889.3931 or view up to date information on how Illinois is handling COVID-19 from the State of Illinois Coronavirus Response Site.

Illinois Department of Human Services

  • The Homeless Prevention Program provides rental/mortgage assistance and utility assistance to eligible individuals and families who are in danger of eviction, foreclosure or homelessness or are currently homeless. The program is designed to stabilize individuals and families in their existing homes, shorten the amount of time that individuals and families stay in shelters and assist individuals and families with securing affordable housing.
  • The Emergency and Transitional Housing Program gives immediate and comprehensive shelter services to homeless persons and persons at risk of becoming homeless.
  • The Illinois Welcoming Center (IWC) is a comprehensive service center for the integration of immigrants and refugees in Illinois. IDHS will dedicate $38 million in pandemic-related emergency programs and direct assistance to Illinois immigrants, refugees and limited English Proficient individuals who are facing unemployment, loss of income, medical costs and food and housing insecurity as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • COVID Family Support Project cash assistance – launching online on October 1st. Please click here to check your eligibility.
    • COVID Housing and Utility Assistance program – launching on October 15th. Please click here to find an organization that can provide assistance in applying for housing and utility assistance.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

  • The Pritzker Administration, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), has launched 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 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.
  • The Help Illinois Families initiative has implemented an online form to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to remotely request assistance through the LIHEAP and/or CSBG programs. Funding may be limited in some areas of the state and completion of the form is not a guarantee of funding.

Housing Counseling Agencies

  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout Illinois that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures and credit issues.
  • Click here to contact a HUD-approved counseling agency.

ILHousing Search

  • ILHousingSearch.org is a fast, easy-to-use FREE search lets people look for rental housing. Provides detailed information and links to housing resources, helpful tools for renters such as an affordability calculator, rental checklist and information about renter rights and responsibilities.
  • The service is also available through a toll-free, bilingual call center at: (877) 428-8844.

Rental Housing Support Program

  • Provides rental assistance to extremely low-income households living in participating properties.
  • Contact one of the administering agencies directly to apply.
  • The City of Chicago administers its own version of the Rental Housing Support Program.

Foreclosure is when the lender takes back the property after the homeowner fails to make required payments on a mortgage.

Foreclosure processes differ by state. Under federal law, a servicer generally cannot start the state foreclosure process until your loan is more than 120 days past due. There can be exceptions depending on your forbearance or other relief (often called “loss mitigation programs”).

Foreclosure moratoriums suspend or stop foreclosure.

If your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac , your lender or loan servicer cannot foreclose on you until after September 30, 2021. If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA, USDA, or VA, your lender or loan servicer cannot foreclose on you until after June 30, 2021.

Specifically, the guidance from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, HUD/FHA, VA, and USDA prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale. This protection began on March 18, 2020.

Contact your servicer

If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, you only need to explain that you have a COVID-related financial hardship, directly or indirectly related to the pandemic. Even for those loans not backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the federal government, mortgage servicers are generally required to discuss relief options with you.

If you are facing financial hardships and need forbearance, you should ask for forbearance immediately.

If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA, USDA, or VA, the deadline for requesting an initial forbearance is June 30, 2021. If your loan is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, there is not currently a deadline for requesting an initial forbearance.

If you already have a forbearance plan and need more time, you can request an extension. If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or the federal government, you are entitled to a 180-day extension of your COVID hardship forbearance if you request it.

In addition:

If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac: You may request one additional three-month extension, up to a maximum of 15 months of total forbearance. But to qualify, you must be in a COVID hardship forbearance plan as of February 28, 2021, so don’t delay contacting your servicer if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage and are not in a forbearance plan.

If your mortgage is backed by FHA, USDA, or VA: You may request up to two additional three-month extensions, for up to a maximum of 18 months of total forbearance. But to qualify, you must have started a forbearance plan on or before June 30, 2020. Not all borrowers will qualify for the maximum. Check with your servicer about the options available.

Ask these questions

  • What options are available to help temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
  • Can I access forbearance, loan modification, or other options?
  • When will you waive the late fees on my mortgage account?
  • What should I do at the end of my forbearance period? When should I contact or expect to hear from my servicer before my forbearance ends?
  • What are my payment options when forbearance ends?
  • If your loan is not federally backed or insured, or is not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, ask: What restrictions and requirements will apply at the end of the forbearance period?
  • Will you charge interest on my unpaid mortgage payments during forbearance?
  • What are my rights if you don’t grant me forbearance, and I disagree with your decision?

Check your servicer’s website before you call to see if there is a list provided of information you may need or if you can apply online.

Have your account number handy.

What is a forbearance?

  • Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time. Forbearance doesn’t erase what you owe, you are still required to repay any missed/reduced payments in the future. If your income is restored, reach out to your servicer and resume making payments as soon as you can. The CARES Act does not specify how each lender chooses to incorporate their forbearance policy, so struggling homeowners should reach out to their lender.
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has been working to provide translated mortgage resources to industry serving borrowers with limited English proficiency that may be facing difficulty paying their mortgage.
  • View or download FHFA’s Forbearance Servicer Script, Mortgage Assistance Application, and Educational Servicing Brochure in additional language here.

How to submit a complaint

If you have a problem with a consumer financial product or service, you can try reaching out to the company first. Companies can usually answer questions unique to your situation and more specific to the products and services they offer. We can also help you connect with the company if you have a complaint. You can submit to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-2372.

Start a complaint

Credit Scores

  • If you are approved for a forbearance, a payment delay or other payment arrangement with your creditor or servicer (and you are current on your accounts) then the creditor or servicer will continue to report you to the credit rating agencies as current. Your credit report/score will not be negatively impacted by these non- or delayed payments during the covered period of the arrangement.

Finding a Housing Counselor

  • Housing counselors can help you understand your options if you are having trouble paying your mortgage. They can communicate with your mortgage lender or servicer on your behalf and help you find legal representation if necessary. Counselors can also help you create a budget to manage your expenses and possibly stay in your home.
  • All services are free.
  • Find a counselor near you today and begin to get the help you need.

At the request of the Illinois Commerce Commission, the following utilities have committed to extending the moratorium on utility disconnections for low-income (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program qualified) residential customers and those financially impacted by COVID-19 until March 31, 2021: Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, Commonwealth Edison, Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois. Please read more in the update from the Citizens Utility Board here.

MidAmerican will voluntarily extend the moratorium on disconnections for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program qualified residential customers through March 31, 2021 and is further considering additional options to help their customers during this unprecedented time.

Additionally, Nicor Gas and Liberty Utilities have agreed to extend the moratorium on disconnections for all residential customers until March 31, 2021.

State of Illinois (COVID-19) Response

  • Stay up-to-date on all things Illinois COVID-19. Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of Illinoisans is Governor Pritzker’s top priority. The administration continues to work closely with local health departments, county officials and federal partners to put systems in place to respond to COVID-19. This website will provide the latest news releases related to coronavirus, resources, FAQs, video archives of press conferences and tips from leading experts to keep you and your family safe.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

  • For all COVID-19 unemployment benefits information, please visit the IDES site.

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

  • The mission of IDPH is to protect the health and wellness of the people of Illinois through the prevention, health promotion, regulation and the control of disease and injury. Please click here for the latest updates from IDPH.