For the first time in 18 months, landlords in Illinois have the green light to evict tenants who are behind in their rent, but people who still need assistance can still get help.
Bob Glaves, executive director of the Chicago Bar Foundation, said the Illinois Supreme Court has launched the Court-Based Rental Assistance Program (CBRAP) in a last-ditch effort to help both tenants and landlords stave off pending evictions. The CBRAP is designed for people who were harmed by the pandemic. It is an 11th-hour rescue effort for people who are facing court eviction and have not received emergency government funds to pay their back rent.
About $60 million was allocated by the Illinois Department of Housing (IDHS) for the program.
Glaves counsels people not to give up. Resources are still available to help landlords get paid and keep tenants in their homes if they are facing eviction because of COVID hardships, he said.
“Nobody wins, including the landlord, when the sheriff has to go out and actually evict somebody,” Glaves said. “It takes a long time. It is traumatic for everyone concerned. And it is not good for communities.”
Since 2020, IDHS, the Illinois Housing Development Authority and housing advocates have been working to prevent a Great Recession-type scenario – like the one in 2008 and 2009 – where tens of thousands of people faced eviction and foreclosure.
CPRAP is an intervention program for people who are in court and may be eligible for federal and state funding to help them stay in their homes.
The effort is aimed at people on the brink of eviction.
“This is to try to put an expedited process together that can make a faster determination ‘Is rental assistance an option here? And can we connect people more quickly with it,’” Glaves said.
Cook County and some other municipalities will have people in zoom rooms in court buildings who can help eligible tenants and landlords determine–on the spot–if they qualify to access government funding. Courts across the state will be able to connect with program representatives.
Glaves hopes people will not wait until their case gets to court before they seek help.
“We don’t want people going to court to get rental assistance,” Glaves said. “Help is out there. People should not give up. If they can apply for rental assistance before eviction proceedings start, that is the way to approach it.”
The Cook County Legal Aid hotline for Housing and Debt is 855-956-5763. Online, go to Cook County Legal Aid. Outside of Cook County, landlords and tenants can contact IHDA’s call center at 1-866-IL-HELP1 (454-3571) to be connected with an available HSS agency.
This article was originally posted on Illinois Supreme Court launches last ditch eviction prevention effort