Help here for renters, landlords
Eviction moratorium ends, but aid flows
By Capitol News Illinois staff
and Tim Hadac
The state’s eviction moratorium expired last Sunday, but city renters, as well as landlords, appear to have a range of options to receive relief.
Governor JB Pritzker’s office said it has released $443 million in legal aid Illinois has received from the federal government. There’s $61 million still to be distributed, and another $60 million is available through a court-based rental assistance program which is meant to serve as a “safety net” for those who may be eligible for rent assistance but otherwise have not applied. More information can be found at ilrpp.ihda.org.
In the Chicago area, renters seeking assistance can visit chicookilrenthelp.org. Assistance may also still be available in certain areas through the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the two state agencies overseeing disbursement of federal funding, at illinoisrentalassistance.org/providers. The IHDA call center can be reached at 866-454-3571.
Free legal assistance, may be obtained through Eviction Help Illinois by visiting evictionhelpillinois.org or calling 855-631-0811.
Susan Simone, director of litigation and advocacy at Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, said there are also several rights that renters should be aware of if they are facing eviction.
“I think people really need to understand that if they get a summons for eviction, they have to go to court,” she said. “They have to get there on time, because orders are entered into if they’re not there.”
Renters may always request a trial, especially if they believe their landlord is refusing to apply for rental aid, and they should not agree to anything they don’t understand or that is not very specific.
Simone said those who fear they are facing eviction should call their county sheriff to see if there’s anything scheduled in terms of an eviction date. If there is an eviction order entered, if it’s more than 120 days old, she said, the sheriff should not be enforcing it, and the landlord is required to get an extension order from the court.
The Lightfoot Administration this week offered tips to Chicagoans worried about remaining in their homes home because they have been unable to pay rent:
- Don’t Self-Evict. If you get an eviction notice, know that only the Cook County Sheriff can carry out an eviction. It is illegal for your landlord to try to remove you from your home.
- Get Legal Help. Get free legal help at Rentervention.com or by calling (312) 347-7600.
- Get Financial Help– Apply for rental assistance at rentrelief.com/allchicago or call a City of Chicago delegate agency such as Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago at 1-800-831-7949, the Spanish Coalition for Housing at (773) 933-7575 or the Southwest Organizing Project at (773) 471-8208.
Landlords or tenants who applied to receive rental assistance during the open application period that ended in June may check the status of their by visiting cchicago.gov/renthelp.
SW Siders agree
Southwest Siders discussing the situation on social media this week seemed generally supportive of the government and non-profit sectors’ work to prevent a wave of evictions.
“It matters that people like me aren’t just kicked to the curb,” said Kelvy Peterson. “I’ve been one paycheck away from homelessness a lot of times in my life…and yeah, I’m behind on the rent because this COVID thing has hurt me. So it matters.”
Jean Ann Russo agreed.
“Without these aid programs, there’d be a huge wave of people being made homeless by evictions,” she said. “And for some landlords, that may be a feel-good thing in the short run, but how are they going to find paying tenants? They won’t. Things are tough all over.”
Rogelio Marcos-Perez owns several three-flats just north of Marquette Park.
“I don’t want empty units in my buildings,” he said. “How will I pay my mortgage, my gas, my electric, my water, my taxes? I don’t care how my tenants pay the bill. I just want it paid.”
Besides, he added, “the government can bail out all these billion-dollar corporations. The least they could do is bail out the little guy.”
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