April 8, 2022

Behind on Housing Costs Due to COVID-19

Homeowners who have fallen behind on mortgage payments and related housing expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for assistance through the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF). According to a press release from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). The application period runs from April 11th through May 31st, 2022. Governor JB Pritzker and the IHDA announced eligible households will be able to apply for up to $30,000 in free assistance to pay past due mortgage payments, property tax, property insurance, and delinquent homeowner and/or condo association fees. Homeowners in need of assistance can find more information on program eligibility and how they can prepare to apply at www.illinoishousinghelp.org.

Administered by IHDA, ILHAF is designed to help homeowners avoid mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures, and help prevent displacement of households experiencing financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the health and economic effects of the pandemic will be prioritized in the distribution of assistance, and IHDA has partnered with organizations across the state to help homeowners in hard-hit communities apply and receive their fair share of support.

To qualify for ILHAF, Illinois homeowners must have experienced a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as lost income or increased expenses, on or after Jan. 21, 2020. They must also currently own and occupy their home in Illinois as their primary residence, be at least 30 days late on their mortgage or other homeowner expenses, and have a household income at or below 150% of the area median income.

Homeowners should consult with a HUD-certified housing counselor or talk to their mortgage servicer about mitigation options as soon as possible. A certificate from a HUD-certified housing counselor or a letter from a mortgage servicer detailing efforts to resolve the delinquency is required to apply for ILHAF assistance.

In preparation for applying for ILHAF assistance, homeowners should also have the following documentation ready:

  • Proof of identification, including but not limited to a driver’s license, state ID, permanent residency card or other form of ID.
  • Proof of household income, including but not limited to tax returns, pay stubs, or other documentation.
  • Proof of occupancy, including but not limited to a bank statement, cell phone bill, credit/debit card statement, or other documentation.
  • Proof of ownership, including but not limited to a property tax bill, property deed, or other documentation.
  • Delinquency statement, including but not limited to a mortgage statement, property tax statement, insurance statement, or HOA/Condo Association statement.

ILHAF is funded by $309 million in federal funds allocated to the state by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. After seeking input from a range of stakeholders including members of the Illinois General Assembly, municipal officials, housing advocacy organizations, and Illinois residents , IHDA submitted an ILHAF plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and received approval to build the proposed program in December 2021. The initiative builds upon several homeowner and renter assistance efforts undertaken by the Pritzker administration, including the Emergency Mortgage and Rental Assistance Programs in 2020 and the Illinois Rental Payment Program in 2021. Together than these programs will deliver more $1 billion in emergency rent and mortgage payment assistance to Illinois households during the pandemic.

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