CHICAGO (WTWO/WAWV) — Governor JB Pritzker, along with the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the Illinois Department of Human Services, announced Thursday that more than $209 million in rental assistance will be paid for on behalf of 26,300 renter households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With over 40% of the $500 million in available funds committed to being paid, Illinois is increasing access to assistance through the Illinois Rental Payment Program. There are still more than 16,000 applications submitted by tenants awaiting completion from the applicant’s landlord in order to be reviewed. Landlords have until 11:59 p.m. CST on Aug. 15 to complete their portion of the application to be eligible for funding.

For renters who missed the window to apply for assistance through IHDA, the Illinois Department of Human Services is still accepting applications for rental assistance for as long as current funding is available. Households looking for assistance should contact an IDHS Service Provider Agency to ask about rental assistance.

“The economic pain brought on by COVID-19 has impacted every Illinoisan, but no one has carried a burden larger than those least able to weather a financial hardship,” Pritzker said. “That truth sits at the heart of our pandemic response. It’s why we were one of the most efficient states in the nation in 2020 at providing housing relief dollars to families in need, and it’s why we’re continuing that leadership in quickly getting rental assistance out the door in 2021.”

To receive assistance directly, tenants will need to attend a rental counseling session provided by a HUD-approved agency, to provide IHDA with documentation certifying their completion of that session, and to submit proof of past-due rent to IHDA.

Tenants are responsible for scheduling their own rental counseling session and can find a list of providers at: HSS HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency. To receive assistance directly, tenants must complete these tasks by Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

This initial funding was provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 and additional rounds of assistance, including both rent and mortgage, will be announced later this fall. Tenants and landlords should continue to check their email for any updates from IHDA regarding their application. To speak with an IHDA call center representative, please call (866) 454-3571.