As eviction moratorium expires, Illinois residents get more options for rental assistance
MADISON — Illinois residents have another way to get rental and utility assistance, as the state’s moratorium on evictions ended Sunday.
The Illinois Department of Human Services is distributing additional help through faith-based organizations in underserved communities and those hit hardest by COVID-19.
“We’ve gotten clients that have applied six months ago for rental assistance and haven’t gotten anything,” said Yolanda Crochrell, executive director of the Quad City Community Development Center.
Faith-based organizations, like Crochrell’s, have established relationships with their local communities and can often reach those in need faster than some government institutions, she said. The state Department of Human Services indicated applications will have a turnaround time of 10 to 14 days, Crochrell said.
The interest in additional assistance has been overwhelming at times, she said.
“Our phone rings off the hook,” Crochrell said.
The development center in Madison started processing applications for assistance at the beginning of September and will continue doing so until June 2022, Crochrell said.
Eligible applicants must meet the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s low-income designation and provide valid identification, proof of employment before March 2020 and a rental receipt or lease agreement.
Crochrell said a single applicant can receive three months' back rent and three months forward up to $25,000 from Illinois. The money can also help with all utilities except for cable television.
The additional assistance coming to the Metro East will relieve some of the rental assistance burden on Madison County, Crochrell said.
“The county has started a waiting list,” she said. “I think we’re going to take over their waiting list and help some of those people as well.”
Illinois residents in need of assistance can call the Quad City Community Development Center to schedule an appointment at 618-876-4043.
Additional support for the community
The availability of additional rental and utility assistance coincides with other efforts of the Quad City Community Development Center to support residents in Madison and Venice, including a vaccination clinic.
The center also secured commercial washers and dryers with help from two Swansea Democratic state legislators, Rep. Jay Hoffman and Sen. Chris Belt, for families that don’t have access to reliable ones.
While it’s a relatively small addition to the center, Belt expressed how critical clean clothing can be for those in underserved communities, especially children.
“I understand how it negatively affects you going to school,” he said. “No one wants to be ridiculed and made fun of because their clothes aren’t clean.”
The needs of the Madison and Venice community are complex and require help from all parts of the state and local government, Crochrell said.
“This is an important time right now where people need help, and if we can step up and help, that’s what we thrive on,” she said.
Eric Schmid covers the Metro East for St. Louis Public Radio as part of the journalism grant program: Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.