Daily file illustration by Catherine Buchaniec
After about a year and a half of extensions, Gov. J.B. Pritzker did not renew Illinois’ eviction moratorium before it expired on Oct. 3, once again leaving residents at risk of eviction if they are unable to pay rent.
The moratorium prevented landlords from evicting residents who failed to meet rent payments due to COVID-19’s financial impacts. However, it didn’t forgive the missed rent payments. That means tenants who couldn’t meet rent over the past year and a half could be vulnerable to eviction orders from landlords.
The moratorium intended to curb COVID-19’s spread by enabling residents to follow stay-at-home orders even as financial insecurity rose during the pandemic. Pritzker extended the moratorium numerous times, most recently from Sept. 18 and Aug. 31.
The end of the Illinois moratorium coincides with a similar rent moratorium established by the Centers for Disease Control, which also saw multiple extensions before ending on Oct. 3.
In September 2020, Evanston City Council discussed creating a local moratorium on evictions that would protect Evanston tenants beyond the end of state and CDC moratoriums. However, the legislation was tabled due to conflict between the various moratoriums. Aldermen expressed concern it could lead tenants to enter into unnecessary deals with landlords under a perceived but false threat of eviction.
Though the moratorium is over, residents can still take advantage of various rent relief programs from the city, county and state, including the Cook County Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The funding for the program comes from another round of funding from the American Rescue Plan, this time in the amount of $75 million.
Residents looking for assistance in completing applications to the Program or hoping for help with landlord-tenant mediation as eviction becomes a possibility again can reach out to local aid organizations including fair housing nonprofit, Open Communities.
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— The Daily Northwestern’s rent relief guide
— Q&A: Housing, Counseling and Education Director Jasemen Hatcher talks Cook County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program