In a statement released Oct. 1, Cook County officials announced that an additional $75 million will be spent on emergency rental assistance.
The county will start accepting applications from renters on Monday Oct. 4 through Friday, Oct. 29, officials said. To apply, you can visit: www.cookcountyil.gov/recovery.
“This is a crucial extension of our Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which has provided aid to nearly 8,000 tenants and landlords during this difficult time. It was top priority for the County to continue this program and make critical improvements, such as covering relocation, security deposits, and other housing-related expenses that our residents so desperately need,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
In the statement, county officials said the emergency assistance is being funded through the American Rescue Plan. They added that priority will be given to “suburban Cook County’s most vulnerable residents.”
“Designed to prevent and relieve housing instability for suburban Cook County renters and landlords who have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ERA 2 can help with up to 18 months of rental assistance,” county officials said.
“The program will cover past and current utility expenses, or other related housing expenses including relocation costs, security deposits, processing fees, and temporary housing solutions. In addition, under ERA 2, public housing residents and families with Housing Choice Vouchers are eligible to apply for assistance with their portion of rent.”
In order to qualify for assistance, applicants must live in suburban Cook County and be renters. They’re also required to “have a current or future obligation to pay rent, utilities, and/or other housing-related expenses and have a household annual income at or below established requirements (ranging from $52,200 for single-person households up to $98,450 for eight-person households).”
Applicants also have to have proof of COVID-19-related financial hardship, such as lost income, being furloughed and fewer hours worked.
“Beyond meeting the eligibility requirements, priority will be given to eligible households that have received an eviction notice, households where at least one member has been unemployed for 90 days prior to applying, households where an individual pays more than 50% of income on rent, and households that are considered overcrowded,” county officials said. “Priority applications will be processed before non-priority applications.”
For more information, visit call (833) 221-9821. Residents and landlords dealing with issues surrounding evictions and debt are also encouraged to contact Cook County Legal Aid for Housing and Debt (CCLAHD) at www.cookcountylegalaid.org or by calling (855) 956-5763 to get free legal aid and mediation services to help resolve issues.