After losing rental income when tenants lose jobs, Chicago man gets stuck with long wait from state assistance program

CHICAGO (CBS) — Rental income was a part of a Chicago man’s retirement plan, however that hit a snag when his renters lost their jobs through the pandemic.

The landlord and his tenants turned to a state rental assistance program for assist – however have been ready on a call since earlier than Christmas. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory acquired solutions about why the method is taking the State of Illinois months to finish.

Every day, retiree Willie Chatman is at his computer checking on rental assistance money from the Illinois Housing Development Authority, or IDHA.

“I was seriously considering, ‘Hey, I might have to start considering working for another two or three years to dig myself out of this hole,'” Chatman stated, referring to the $16,000 gap from the upstairs tenant and one other $10,000 in unpaid hire by the girl downstairs. “I still have to pay the mortgage and the taxes and the water.”

So Chatman used money in reserves that he usually would’ve used for repairs to pay the payments coming in. Some duties like portray the partitions or changing an previous door needed to be placed on maintain. He made a patchwork of life-style adjustments, too.

“For instance, bowling – got to cut that out. No movies – got to cut that out,” stated Chatman.

Rental assistance may ease Chatman’s burdens, however when he contacted CBS 2 in June, he’d nearly sufficient – ready on a call from his December application.

Correspondence from IDHA instructed him count on a 90-day wait or longer. He hoped that was an exaggeration.

“Knowing, not knowing. Is it going go? Is it not going to go?” stated Chatman, describing what it has been wish to be in limbo.

He had began the eviction course of however tabled it earlier than studying and making use of to rental assistance.

“You don’t know in which direction to go because you don’t know where that process is going to take you,” he stated.

So why did it take six complete months to get up to now? CBS 2 has had a number of viewers attain out to complain concerning the prolonged course of.

We requested, and IDHA agreed to do an interview to elucidate.

“I understand the frustration. I don’t want to not acknowledge that,” stated Rodrigo Carillo, director of IDHA’s Strategic Response Unit.

The SRU staff manages all of the COVID reduction money that goes out IDHA’s door for each rental and mortgage reduction.

Carillo tells us 76,000 purposes got here in for this spherical of rental assistance (spherical one was dispersed to 63,964 renters in 2021). 

The purposes first wanted to be sorted to offer precedence to decrease income households per federal tips. It was not a first-come, first-serve course of, he stated.

What additionally took time was monitoring for any double-dipping in different rental assistance applications.

“We had to check with Cook County. We had to check with other counties that received money and operated those funds,” stated Carrillo, “so it wasn’t as cut and dry.”

He added that high quality management additionally brought about some delays for about 5 p.c of purposes – randomly chosen.

“We did the best that we could,” stated Carrillo.

Chatman’s approval got here simply days after CBS 2 reached out to IDHA about his case. It seems he was lacking some documentation that he rapidly despatched over.

While it is unclear why that wasn’t communicated to him sooner, Chatman can breathe just a little simpler.

“A big weight was lifted,” he stated when he heard concerning the approval.

The IDHA staff already issued greater than 24,000 approvals and handed out over $178 million for this spherical of rental assistance, to date. We’re instructed they’re at the moment wrapping up purposes submitted by tenants, with out their landlords.

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