UPDATE: The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance programs administered by IHDA in 2020 are CLOSED.
The State of Illinois is working to establish a new rental assistance program this Spring to continue to provide rental housing aid to those impacted by COVID-19. The program is in development, and we encourage you to check back for future updates.
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. Please visit www.ihda.org for current program information.
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.
On June 10, 2020 Governor JB Pritzker signed the 2021 Budget Appropriations Bill. Passed by the Illinois General Assembly on May 24, the bill allocated over $300,000,000 of federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) for the specific purpose of providing housing assistance to residents of Illinois who found themselves without the means to pay their rent or mortgage due to impacts incurred from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resulting Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) and Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) programs disbursed more than $324,000,000 in past due rent and mortgage payments helping keep over 56,000 households safe and sheltered at home during the pandemic.
The Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance programs administered by IHDA in 2020 are CLOSED. If you have additional questions, please email email@example.com and IHDA will respond as soon as possible. Please be advised, due to a significant number of inquiries, it may take IHDA up to three business days to respond. We appreciate your patience.
If you are a housing provider who received funds from this program in 2020 and have funds to return, please return excess funds to IHDA by Wednesday, February 10 to:
Illinois Housing Development Authority
21412 Network Place
Chicago, IL 60673-1412
What should I do if I have reason to believe that someone is providing fraudulent information in an attempt to obtain ERA or EMA funds?
IHDA takes all allegations of fraud seriously. If you have reason to believe someone is providing fraudulent information in an attempt to obtain ERA or EMA funds please promptly send an e-mail to either ERAFraudAllegation@ihda.org (for rental) or EMAFraudAllegation@ihda.org (for mortgage), with as much detail as possible so that IHDA can promptly investigate the matter. Alternatively, you could file a complaint online with the Office of the Executive Inspector General at: https://www2.illinois.gov/oeig/complaints/Pages/OnlineComplaint.aspx.
- I have not received a communication from IHDA about the status of my application for emergency rental or mortgage assistance. How do I know if I was approved or denied?
IHDA has made good faith efforts to attempt to contact every applicant via e-mail to communicate whether an applicant was approved or denied. IHDA’s records reflect that all approved applicants have been successfully contacted. As the programs IHDA launched in 2020 have ended, if you have not already received a notice of approval, you should assume your application was denied.
- What should I do if I do not want to assume my application was denied, and I want to receive an official notice from IHDA that my application?
If you believe you did not receive a denial notice from IHDA, we encourage you to check your e-mail account’s “junk” folder. If you have checked all of your e-mail folders and still cannot locate a denial e-mail, you may have inadvertently provided an invalid e-mail address with your application or, for reasons out of IHDA’s control, the attempted e-mail transmission may have otherwise been unsuccessful. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the denial communication for your application. Please provide your name, the address of the unit you listed in your application, and the e-mail address you provided at the time of application.
- My application was approved but my landlord has not received any payments. How can I confirm my approval/when can I expect payment?
Please contact email@example.com as soon as possible. Please provide your name, the address of the unit you listed in your application, and the e-mail address you provided at the time of application for both yourself and your landlord. IHDA will use this information to check its payment records and provide you with an update.
- My income is 80% or below AMI and I am behind on my rent for reasons related to COVID-19. Why was my application for rental assistance denied?
There were multiple mandatory eligibility criteria that had to be satisfied in order to be considered for funding. As administrator of the program, IHDA based eligibility decisions on the responses and information provided in your application. If one of your responses to a mandatory criteria question was a yes, when it needed to be a no, or a no, when it needed to be a yes, your application was denied. The denial does not mean you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, it means IHDA could not confirm you met the eligibility criteria based on your response to one or more questions in the application.
- I received assistance from IHDA’s Emergency Rental Assistance program in 2020. Can I apply for additional rental assistance in 2021?
Participants in IHDA’s 2020 Emergency Rental Assistance program will not be prohibited from applying for assistance from IHDA in 2021. However, assistance for IHDA’s 2020 Emergency Rental Assistance participants will be limited to rental arrearages from 2021.
- Do I have to pay taxes on my rental assistance grant?
- My tenant’s application was approved but I have not received payment from IHDA. How can I confirm their approval/when can I expect to receive a payment from IHDA?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Please provide your name, the tenant’s name, the address of the rental unit, and any e-mail addresses associated with the application. IHDA will use this information to check its payment records and provide you with an update.
- I received a check (or multiple checks) but I am unsure which tenant to apply payments to. How can I confirm which tenant was approved?
Please contact email@example.com as soon as possible. Please provide your name, the tenant’s name, the address of the rental unit, and any e-mail addresses associated with the application. IHDA will use this information to check its records and provide you with an update.
- I received two checks for the same tenant. What should I do?
If you received two separate checks in the amount of $5,000, in connection with a single application from one of your tenants, and both checks have been deposited, it is imperative that you immediately provide a $5,000 reimbursement to the Authority, which $5,000 is the full amount of the duplicate payment sent to you in error. Please send a check in the amount of $5,000 made payable to: Illinois Housing Development Authority. Please reference the tenant’s full name and address on the check. If using overnight mail, which is preferred, please use the following address:
JP Morgan Chase, Attn: Illinois Housing Development
Authority Lockbox 21412,
131 S. Dearborn, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60603
If you are unable to send via overnight mail, please use the following address:
21412 Network Place
Chicago, IL 60673-1412
If you received two separate checks in the amount of $5,000, in connection with a single application from one of your tenants, and neither check has been deposited, please immediately email firstname.lastname@example.org for further direction. Please include your name, the tenant’s name, the address of the unit, the “AM”/Loan Numbers from each check (this can be found in the invoice/receipt portion of the checks (example AM009999). In addition, please call Lisa Jackson at (312) 836-8575.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this administrative error and appreciate your full and prompt attention rectifying the matter.
- I received a check for a tenant that no longer resides in the property. What do I do?
Please contact email@example.com as soon as possible. Please provide your name, the tenant’s name, the address of the rental unit, any e-mail addresses associated with the application and a phone number where you can be reached. IHDA will contact you to discuss the matter further. In most situations you will be required to return the funds to IHDA.
- I have leftover grant funds. Can I keep them/apply them towards my tenant’s rent in 2021?
No. You are required to return excess funds to IHDA.
- Do I have to pay taxes on this rental assistance grant?
Per Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-72, as amended by Executive Order 2020-74, Executive Order 2021-01, Executive Order 2021-04, Executive Order 2021-05 and 2021-06, landlords are prohibited from initiating eviction actions against covered persons unless they pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property. A “covered person” is defined as a tenant who provides their landlord with a certification under penalty of perjury stating that:
- They expect to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or $198,000 if filing jointly);
- They are unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a COVID-19 related hardship including, but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- They are using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other non-discretionary expenses; and
- Eviction would likely render them homeless—or force them to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because they have no other available housing options.
In addition to largely prohibiting the filing of eviction actions against covered persons, the Executive Order also prohibits the enforcement of eviction orders against all individuals unless they have been found to pose 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. This moratorium is in effect until May 1, 2021 (subject to further extension or amendment by the Governor).
- The Tenant Declaration form in Arabic is here. FAQs in Arabic are here.
- The Tenant Declaration form in Chinese is here. FAQs in Chinese are here.
- The Tenant Declaration form in Hindi is here. FAQs in Hindi are here.
- The Tenant Declaration form in Polish is here. FAQs in Polish are here.
- The Tenant Declaration form in Spanish is here. FAQs in Spanish are here.
- The Tenant Declaration form in Tagalog is here. FAQs in Tagalog are here.
In addition to providing your landlord with a signed declaration, you should retain a copy of the signed declaration(s) for your records. If you need legal assistance, you may wish to reach out to legal resource agencies listed here (en español).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary national moratorium on most evictions for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Evicted renters must move, which leads to multiple outcomes that increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. The moratorium takes effect September 4, 2020 and will last until June 30, 2021 covering tens of millions of renters at risk of eviction nationwide.
An eligible tenant must execute a declaration form under penalty of perjury to the landlord certifying that:
- The tenant does not expect to earn more than $99,000 (or $198,000 if filing a joint tax return) in 2020 or has received a CARES Act stimulus check;
- Has used their best efforts to obtain government assistance for rent or housing;
- Is unable to pay rent due to a substantial loss in income or because of extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses;
- Is making their best effort to make partial rent payments;
- Has no other available housing options if evicted; and
- Understands they may need to pay back rent and fees once the moratorium expires.
If you meet all of these conditions listed above, you must send a signed declaration to your landlord.
The emergency order applies only to those unable to make full rent payment and does not prohibit evictions resulting from issues other than nonpayment of rent. The eviction moratorium does not require landlords to forgive housing payments or preclude the charging or collection of fees, penalties, or interest for failure to make rent and housing payments.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has developed an FAQ for renters interested in participating in the moratorium.
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.
- 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
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 June 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.
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.
- 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.