The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is launching a $150 million program with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is expected to reach approximately 30,000 renters who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The program, funded by the federal CARES Act, will offer rental assistance to about 30,000 renters across the state.

Applications can be submitted via the application portal and will remain open until Aug. 21st, a day before the state’s eviction moratorium is set to expire. Another state program offering $150 million in federally funded grants to homeowners will accept applications between Aug. 24 and Sept. 4.

To address housing instability due to COVID-19, renters who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will be prioritized in the grants process. Eligible tenants must already carry an unpaid rent balance from March through present day and certify that the reason they were unable to pay rent was due to a COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant and as a condition of accepting the assistance, landlords must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the ERA. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.