Starting in April, homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and at risk of foreclosure will be able to apply for up to $30,000 in free assistance through the Illinois Emergency Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF) program, Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) officials announced in February.

“My administration worked more quickly than any other state in the country to distribute over $1 billion to prevent renters and homeowners from losing their housing in the pandemic, and this next phase will provide hundreds of millions more in 2022,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in the IHDA release.

“Come April, residents struggling to keep a roof over their heads will be able to access up to $30,000 in mortgage relief,” Pritzker said. “This funding marks another step forward in our work to ensure all our residents have what they need for themselves and their families.”

Government officials said the U.S. Department of the Treasury “requires this assistance be used as a ‘last resort,’ therefore struggling homeowners are federally required to seek other relief options prior to being eligible to apply for assistance through ILHAF in April.

“Potential applicants must demonstrate they have either communicated with their mortgage provider about their inability to pay or sought counseling with a HUD-approved counseling organization.

“Interested homeowners are strongly encouraged to attend an information session hosted by IHDA or one of our housing partners. The session schedule is posted online at illinoishousinghelp.org, for those without access to a computer or the internet, please contact the ILHAF hotline at 1-866-IL-HELP (866-454-3571).”

The ILHAF program is funded through money made available by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, officials said.

To qualify for the ILHAF assistance, Illinois homeowners “must have experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic after Jan. 21, 2020 (including a hardship that began before Jan. 21, 2020, but continued after that date),” officials said.

“They also must currently own and occupy their home in Illinois as their primary residence, be at least 30 days late on their monthly housing payments and have a household income at or below 150% of the area median income.”

For more information and updates on the program, visit illinoishousinghelp.org.

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