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State continues to push for federal funding to help renters

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Strapped for cash due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Americans are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. Still, the federal moratorium on evictions will lift in January.

The Illinois Housing Development Authority says nearly 320,000 Illinoisans could face eviction at the start of the new year. Officials found this data in a new report from the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

While Illinois created a strong rental assistance program during this pandemic, IHDA Executive Director Kristen Faust says $300 million won’t be enough to help everyone in need. She adds the housing crisis will only become worse without additional funding from the federal government.

“We simply have too many people paying over half of their income for rent,” Faust explained Thursday. “The pains of COVID-19 have impacted nearly everyone in the state. But, no one has carried a larger burden than those least able to weather a financial hardship.”

Faust says the state also thought of landlords struggling without monthly rent payments. Officials set aside $150 million of CARES Act funding specifically for landlords.

However, some lawmakers and advocates are concerned landlords may still evict tenants once they received the money.

“How do we make sure that they’re not just taking the money and running,” asked Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago). “I’m guessing in one way this was set up believing the renter would take the money and run. So, how do we make sure the landlord does not do that?”

While some large corporate groups run complexes, Faust noted Black and Latino landlords with several properties struggle to get by just like everyone else. For now, she said the administration is sharing information on the funding process with both parties relying on trust.

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Mike Miletich

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