COVID Relief


The Illinois General Assembly dedicated $396 million of it’s $3.5 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to providing COVID-19 rental and mortgage assistance. The Illinois Housing and Development Authority, the state’s housing finance agency, announced the distribution of these funds through the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) and Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) programs.

Both programs required that an adult member of the household suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19, in addition to maximum household income limits, and that a payment was missed after March 1, 2020. The ERA is offered as a $5,000 grant payable to landlords to bring their tenants up-to-date with their payments. The EMA program works in a similar way, but as a $15,000 grant payable directly to the lender.

Illinois community advocate and legal aid organizations like CVLS educated the public about the programs, and assisted with the application process. Since funds were extremely limited, the application windows were very short, and this assistance proved crucial for hopeful applicants trying to submit their documentation in time. To make things even easier, CVLS created a dedicated hotline for applicants looking for assistance to call. This hotline, monitored by CVLS staff, was an excellent tool to connect struggling renters and homeowners with a team of law students ready and excited to help.

The selection process is currently underway, and CVLS is proud to have collaborated on such a worthy program.

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