Rental Assistance Program update
Work is proceeding apace to get the McHenry County Emergency Utility and Rental Assistance Program off the ground.
The Treasury Department relaxed program guidelines at the end of February, making it easier to serve clients. This week, the McHenry County Community Development Department and the McHenry County Housing Authority will be working with the online application system with the service provider, and will be setting a target “go-live” date.
The program will allow qualified McHenry County renters who are behind on their rent or utilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic to tap into $9.1 million in federal COVID-19 stimulus. The program aims to reduce or eliminate pandemic-related evictions, prevent homelessness, avoid damaged credit that could hurt future housing opportunities for renters, and repair landlord/tenant relationships strained because of lack of payment.
Renters who qualify (and landlords can apply, too) can receive rent and utility assistance for up to six months in arrears, and up to three months in advance. Awarded funds are paid directly to the landlord or the utility company.
Qualifying households must be at or below 80 percent of their area median income – households at 50 percent or lower or that include dependents or seniors 62 years and older will get priority. They also must be able to demonstrate a loss of income or employment as a result of COVID-19. Immigration status is not a factor in determining eligibility.
The county and the housing authority are optimistic about a mid-March launch, and the goal is to get this money out as quickly as possible. Until then, people who have questions about the program can email McHenryCountyComDev@mchenrycountyil.gov.
As soon as the mechanics are established, we will include them in our newsletter so our Resume McHenry County partners can help spread the word.