Kane County still urging rental assistance applications as eviction moratorium set to expire
The amount of federal rental assistance money flowing to Kane County landlords has nearly doubled in the last month.
But as the Oct. 3 expiration date of Illinois' eviction moratorium approaches, only about 10% of the number of Kane County households that officials estimate need help have even applied for the funds so far.
Officials in Kane County's court system have repeatedly expressed concerns about a possible avalanche of eviction case filings once moratoriums expire. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal moratorium that was in place for most of the COVID-19 pandemic. That left just the state moratoriums in place. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has repeatedly extended Illinois' moratorium but has not moved to do so this time. If no action occurs, the moratorium will expire on Sunday after being in place for more than 18 months.
Kane County officials believe more than 22,000 local renters may be behind on payments to their landlords and face eviction once the moratorium is gone. Illinois received $500 million in federal rental assistance dollars. Large counties received an additional sum, including $15 million in Kane County, where officials decided to leave the distribution of those funds in the hands of the state.
That process has been slow going. Four months in, county officials say the state is just now reviewing applications submitted by actual renters. The first three months of the program focused on taking and reviewing applications by landlords.
Through Sept. 20, Kane County landlords submitted 1,272 applications asking for $12.3 million of the $15 million the county received. State officials have approved 841 (66%) of those applications so far. And a total of 783 landlord applications have received $7 million in assistance. The window for landlords to apply for the federal dollars is now closed.
Kane County renters have submitted about 1,000 applications asking for $10 million in assistance so far. State officials are just starting to review those applications now.
After the payouts to landlords, the county only has about $8 million left. Because state officials are overseeing the county's money, any requests beyond the $15 million the county received may get paid out of the state's $500 million award.
County officials are hoping more local renters apply for the funds if they need the assistance so local courts can avoid another eviction scenario similar to the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008.
Renters can apply for assistance at illinoisrentalassistance.org. In addition, the Community Crisis Center in Elgin and Hesed House in Aurora are assisting Kane County residents with applications.
The program can provide up to 12 months of back rent and up to three months of future rent for those who qualify. Any money received through the program does not have to be paid back.