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Rent and housing assistance in Illinois.

Illinois offers families the ability to get emergency rental assistance, funds for paying security deposits, mortgage assistance, and help for utility bills from resources including the Homeless Prevention Program. The primary goal is to provide help with paying rent and other housing assistance to prevent evictions. The Illinois Department of Human Services administers this program, and other services as indicated below, in partnership with various non-profits.

Qualified families and individuals may be able to receive help from the Homeless Prevention Program. This statewide resource offers funds and grants for paying rent, home loans, heating and utility bills, and various supportive services, including referrals and case management. All of the programs and resources offered have an objective of stopping evictions, homelessness, preventing foreclosures, and addressing all housing issues that families may encounter. A number of services are even offered for people who are currently homeless.

This state of Illinois housing program can help stabilize low to moderate income families and individuals in their existing apartments or homes. If someone is currently homeless, this program may be able to reduce the amount of time that they need to stay in transitional housing or shelters. Case managers from the state DHS office can help applicants find safe and affordable housing, and provide arrange cash assistance for paying security deposits, utility connection fees and first month’s rent.

Financial assistance is targeted at individuals who are faced with immediate danger of eviction from their home or apartment. Those who are struggling with paying their mortgage or are facing a foreclosure may qualify. Last, but not least, assistance is offered for individuals or families who are currently homeless.

The household that is applying must fully document a temporary economic crisis or hardship that is beyond their control and was not caused by them. For example, an unexpected job loss or medical emergency. In addition, applying households need to be able to demonstrate and provide they will have the ability to meet the prospective mortgage/rental/or utility obligations after the assistance has been granted, and after they have a short period of time to get back on their feet. They need to provide this based on their current or anticipated income. Find a listing of agencies to call. Read more on Illinois housing assistance.




Assistance provided from Illinois Homeless Prevention Program

A non-profit agency known as the Illinois Homeless Services Continua of Care runs the homeless prevention services. The organizations is a network of non-profit agencies, local governments, and community action agencies and organizations that are all geographically linked together to cover the service needs of the entire state. Almost 100 different agencies and organizations distribute funds and accept applications across Illinois.

Clients of the program may be able to receive up to 3 months of rental assistance and arreage. Grants for heating and utility bills and arrearage on energy bills may be offered. Also get funds for paying security deposits or first month’s rent. Also apply for counseling and support services to prevent homelessness and evictions or repeated episodes of homelessness. Examples of these services include Job Preparation/Employment Services as well as low income housing location and counseling. Outreach and case management is also offered.

Another resource available is Illinois Rental Housing Support Program. This is the country’s largest state rental and low income housing assistance program. The Illinois Housing Development Authority administers the program, and it can make available funds and cash assistance to local administering agencies and non-profits in order to make rental units affordable for households earning less than 30% of the area’s median total household income.





Vouchers for emergency, short term accommodations can be distributed by DHS. When available, the homeless person will be able to use them at a low priced motel or maybe a hotel that has an agreement in place with the state of Illinois. This program is not commonly offered, and is generally only an option when local shelters are filled to capacity or closed for some reason. More on the Illinois voucher program.

Applying and contact information

To learn more about these or other programs, or to apply for rent or housing assistance, call Illinois Department of Human Services at 1-800-843-6154.

By Jon McNamara

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