Applications for low-income housing support programs are now open. Here’s how you can apply.


Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

Downtown Evanston. The city is hosting an “InSidewalk Sale” this weekend.

Iris Swarthout, Assistant Campus Editor

On New Year’s Day, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 648, expanding housing benefits for members of the Rental Housing Support Program. 

Previously, the program subsidized rental housing for low-income families who make less than 30% of the average median income value in their respective residential areas. HB 648 raised that mark to 40% of the AMI and gave those reaching 35% a 12-month transition out of the program as a financial cushion. 

This year’s housing bill expands the rental housing program so more families can maintain eligibility within the program, though it does not allow families between the 30% and 40% of AMI to apply.

However, there are multiple other rental assistance programs in Illinois that have different requirements. All of them use AMI percentage thresholds to determine a family’s eligibility. 

In order to determine whether you meet the income criteria for your area, you will need to determine your region’s AMI value. You can enter your address into this tool’s search bar, and your area’s AMI will appear. In Evanston, the AMI is $91,200. To qualify for the program, a family must make less than $27,360. Here are some other options for Evanston residents:

If your family makes less than 50% of the AMI

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers

Housing Choice Vouchers are subsidies given to tenants living in participating properties. These vouchers allow tenants to spend a limit of 30 to 40% of their income on housing, according to the Illinois Housing Handbook. In order to be eligible, you must make less than 50% of your region’s Area Median Income. However, 75% of vouchers are given to families that make less than 30% of their region’s AMI. In limited circumstances, families making up to 80% of their region’s AMI also qualify for vouchers, according to An Overview of the Section 8 Housing Programs. Call your public housing agency in your respective county here to find out if you qualify and to apply. 

If your family makes less than 30% of the AMI

Rental Housing Support Program

The Rental Housing Support Program subsidizes rent for families whose gross income falls below a region’s 30% of AMI mark. The program ensures families spend no more than 30% of income on rent. In order to apply for the program, contact your local county administering agency person at this tab.

Section 811 Project Based Rental Assistance Program

The Project Based Rental Assistance Program provides low-income families with a disabled family member affordable housing. In order to be eligible for the program, tenants must be between the age of 18 to 61 with one adult family member having a disability as defined here. Applicants must also be at an income below the 30% of AMI mark for their region. To apply to this program, visit this page and contact your local development contact person. 

If you are in need of emergency housing

Navigate to this page and find a housing provider in your county to call. These providers give shelter services to homeless individuals or those at risk of homelessness.

If you need help resolving disputes with landlords, need rental assistance or need legal representation regarding housing-related matters, use this list of housing counseling agencies to find a counselor that is right for you. 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @swarthout_iris

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