Kane County has $15 million to help residents behind on rent
Kane County will receive about $15 million to help its residents with overdue rent payments, but that money is expected to go fast and address only a small portion of the need.
Projections indicate it will be enough to help less than 13% of the low- and middle-income residents who may find themselves without a place to live as soon as state and national eviction moratoriums expire, county officials said Thursday.
The money comes from the federal COVID-19 relief package approved at the end of December. It included $25 billion for an Emergency Rental Assistance Program overseen by the Department of the Treasury. It also extended until Jan. 31 the Centers for Disease Control and Protection's national moratorium on evictions.
Illinois' moratorium expires Feb. 6. The state will receive $835 million from the rental assistance program, but Chicago and the 10 counties with populations greater than 200,000 get specific earmarks of that overall total.
Initial plans for Kane County's portion call for grants to individuals of up to $5,000. That's based on the grants the Illinois Housing Development Authority gave out from the $325 million the agency received in CARES Act money.
Those funds helped 38,000 households, including about 1,000 Kane County renters. The agency received 79,000 applications.
If Kane County sticks to the $5,000 grants, the county believes the $15 million it will receive can help about 2,800 households. There are about 45,000 renters in Kane County. The county estimates up to 22,000 of those renters are delinquent on their payments.
County board Chair Corinne Pierog said those missing rent payments stem from local unemployment. She shared statistics indicating unemployment in Kane County was 6.2% at the end of November.
"This program will be beneficial to keep our families and our children safe in their homes and to shore up what could be a huge foreclosure rate in Kane County for our landlords," Pierog said.
But it won't be Kane County overseeing the funds. The county staff told the board it doesn't have enough personnel to vet and process thousands of applications.
Instead, the county will contract with the Illinois Housing Development Authority to handle the county's cut of the funds. The agency will also oversee the overall state allocation, which may help limit duplicate applications and fraud.
Low-income renters will receive top priority for the funds. For Kane County, a low-income renter is defined as a four-person household with an income of no more than $45,500.
Middle-income renters will have second priority. They are defined as having a household income of not more than $72,800.
County officials expect to put out an official notice when the application period begins.