Gov. JB Pritzker speaks at a news conference Wednesday on the west side of Chicago as he unveils $900 million in aid programs related to COVID-19 and property damage resulting from civil unrest.

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Wednesday he will extend a moratorium on evictions in the state until July 31, and a new state grant program that will begin in August to give assistance to those who are behind on rent.

There will be $150 million dedicated to each an emergency rental assistance and emergency mortgage assistance program, which will begin in August. Those were two of several programs totaling $900 million in state aid that were highlighted in a Chicago news conference by Pritzker and legislative leaders.

“Today we take another step forward in delivering Illinois much needed support in an effort to get through this crisis and rebound with a stronger, more inclusive economy on the other side of this pandemic,” Pritzker said. “With assistance from the federal CARES Act and in partnership with the General Assembly, including from the Black Caucus, Latino Caucus and Asian Caucus, my administration has put together a support package of over $900 million to lift up small businesses, working families and black and brown communities who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 financial impacts.”

The rental program will be run by the Illinois Housing Development Authority and applies to those who have been unable to pay rent due to COVID-19. The program allows for grants of $5,000 to provide emergency rental assistance. Pritzker said it is expected to be running by August, lasting through the end of the year.

To be eligible, a tenant must carry an unpaid rent balance from March through present day and be able to certify that COVID-19 related income loss is the reason they cannot afford rent. The governor’s office anticipates the program can help approximately 30,000 renters.

Assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant, and landlords accepting assistance must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the agreement.

A similar emergency mortgage program creates grants of up to $15,000 to homeowners who need support with mortgage payments.

That program also is expected to launch in August, and the governor’s office anticipates it will serve approximately 10,000 people.

Eligible homeowners’ must have had an income not exceeding 120 percent of the area median income prior to the pandemic, and must be able to certify that the reason they could not pay their mortgage in full was due to a COVID-19-related loss of income.

Grants from both programs will be allotted on a first-applied, first-approved basis.

The extension of the residential eviction ban through July 31 is an effort to “give people a smooth transition into these new assistance programs,” Pritzker said.

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