Waiting for Federal CARES Act Rent, Mortgage Assistance Too Long, Illinois Residents Say

CHICAGO (WLS) — Illinois residents who applied for federal money to help pay their rent or mortgage say they faced long delays.

The Illinois Department of Housing Authority is responsible for distributing federal CARES Act funds to pay their landlords or their mortgage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline to apply was in August, but now IHDA’s Facebook page is full of complaints from people who say they are still waiting for a response because a federal eviction moratorium could end.

“It’s critical for us and critical for our family, we don’t know what we’re going to do if the funding doesn’t show up in the next seven days,” April Crotts said.

Crotts needs help with the rental. Jeremy Cohn hopes for help with his mortgage.

“It’s been hours and hours of tracking, and the information keeps changing. It’s located in different places, even in the process of escalating to supervisors and their supervisors, we’re still not getting responsiveness,” said said Crotts.

“I applied in August and the only thing I heard after four months was a rejection letter a week ago,” Cohn said.

Cohn said he could have applied for other aid programs if he had been informed sooner.

“The money that’s left there should be spent, and it should be spent on the people who need it,” he said.

The I-Team also provided the agency with documents from two other candidates who are still awaiting responses. A spokesperson told them ‘we will provide housing assistance to every resident whose application has been approved’, and added that ‘to date’ it has paid more than 38,000 homeowners $190 million in rent arrears owed to them by tenants who have requested assistance.

The IHDA also said nearly 9,500 homeowners were awarded nearly $84 million to “avoid foreclosure.”

“We are on the verge of a housing crisis. Not just for renters, but for landlords, maybe landlords who only own one or two properties, people who have mortgages, this indicates a problem a lot serious issue that needs to be resolved very quickly,” Crotts said.

She said that after posting on social media about the I-Team’s involvement, she found out she was approved. Its owner received a check for $5,000.

As for Cohn, an IHDA spokesperson texted to say that after review, the application “looks good” and should be “reviewed and paid for.”

The agency said it has until the end of the year to approve applicants, but the money can continue to flow to people until next year.

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