Legislators in Washington and in Illinois scrambled over the weekend to prevent millions of people from being evicted as a federal eviction moratorium expired Saturday.

In Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker has extended the moratorium until the end of August and that is giving renters a bit more time.

Mike Petry, a landlord who owns both rental and retail properties in Joliet, told The Times Weekly, evictions have not been a real problem with his tenants during the pandemic. “I’m not filing on anybody,” he said.

Petry has one tenant who pays market rate for a unit in one of his buildings in downtown Joliet who applied for rental assistant with the State of Illinois and the state is “processing his request.”

He also has about nine tenants who rents at his Louis Joliet property where he has 60 Section 8/HUD/Income limitation units. Only about nine of those tenants have sought rental assistance through the state and about six of them have already received those funds, according to Petry, who has been a landlord in Joliet for the past 18 years.

“I really don’t think there are that many landlords who are not getting their money,” Petry said.

However, according to according to Kathy Hoffmeyer, Public Affairs Specialist with the Will County Sheriff’s Department, the agency responsible for issuing evictions, other landlords in Will County are seeking evictions.

“We absolutely are seeing a larger number of eviction requests coming in,” Hoffmeyer said.

“Due to the Governor’s moratorium on evictions very few evictions are being processed. In extreme cases, under specific state guidelines, the judge may grant an eviction but that has only happened a few times since the moratorium went into effect. The Governor's moratorium is now in effect until the end of August. Until further direction, the Sheriff's Office will continue to follow the moratorium.”

According to eviction records obtained by The Times Weekly through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Will County Sheriff’s Department has scheduled 99 evictions and executed 47 between Sept. 1, 2020, and August. 3, 3021. Of those, the majority (22) were in Joliet. There were also four in Plainfield, two each in Crest Hill and Lockport and one in Romeoville.

On Friday, as the state’s gradual phaseout of the pandemic eviction moratorium continues, JB Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) announced the administration has distributed more than $185 million in emergency rental assistance to 22,200 Illinoisans through the Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP).

In addition, IHDA announced it has completed the review of all 70,000 applications received during the first application round in June, with an additional 25,000 applications currently in the pipeline to review from the second round. Landlords with in-progress applications already initiated by their tenants are encouraged to complete their portion of the application before the deadline on Sunday, August 15.

“It is critically important to keep families across the state in stable housing for both the health of our communities and to help our state rebuild from the pandemic,” Pritzker said. “That's why my administration continues to do everything we can to provide much-needed support for Illinois residents who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. I'm proud that last year, Illinois was the best in the nation at getting relief to renters and homeowners. And as the eviction moratorium phases out, we remain committed to helping families get and keep the affordable housing they deserve.”

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Pritzker announced a statewide eviction moratorium for tenants while launching emergency assistance programs that included extensive relief for renters, landlords, and homeowners. These efforts helped stave off a wave of evictions and foreclosures that would have led to unprecedented housing instability, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. From July to December 2020, IHDA provided $230.6 million in emergency rental assistance to 46,129 households and $98.5 million in emergency mortgage payment assistance to 10,071 households.

Building on existing efforts to ensure the state's most vulnerable residents keep a roof over their head, Governor Pritzker announced a new round of rental assistance in May 2021 to deliver more than $500 million to 63,000 households. On July 29, Pritzker signed legislation that created new programs and incentives to support affordable housing throughout the state, including a new $75 million program to finance affordable rental housing in areas impacted by the pandemic.

“IHDA is proud to have reached this benchmark of helping over 22,000 Illinois renters with more than $185 million in emergency rental assistance, but we know there is more work to do,” said IHDA Executive Director Kristin Faust. “There are hundreds of millions of dollars still available, and our staff is reviewing applications as quickly as possible to make sure this funding reaches those in need.”

To date, IHDA has received nearly 95,500 completed ILRPP applications from renters and landlords in 100 of Illinois' 102 counties. IHDA has approved 22,250 applications and paid out more than $185 million to renters experiencing hardships due to the pandemic. Approximately 61% of the approved applications to date have assisted households who have been unemployed for more than 90 days, and 63 percent of approvals have assisted extremely-low-income households. The program has provided an average of $8,814 per household, covering up to 12 months of past due rent and up to three months of future rent. According to data from the U.S. Treasury, Illinois was the second highest provider of rental assistance among all grantees in June.

IHDA continues to review applications as quickly as possible and is prioritizing requests from tenants who are unemployed and those with extremely low household incomes. IHDA is also working with tenants who have submitted incomplete applications to help them assemble the missing documentation necessary to approve funding.

Petry said the state is “very thorough in processing the applications.”

In addition, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has programs available to households in need and has awarded over $187 million in assistance to Illinois residents. Assistance has ranged from direct aid for immigrant communities, legal and court-based assistance and funding for service providers and non-profits. To see if you are eligible for any of these programs, visit http://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org.

On July 23, the Governor issued an Executive Order that allows eviction filings against covered persons to begin on Sunday, August 1. The current prohibition on enforcement of eviction orders entered against covered persons will remain in place until Tuesday, August 31. Enforcement of eviction orders entered against covered persons will be allowed September 1 and beyond.

The Illinois Supreme Court has issued an order temporarily staying all trial and judgments in residential eviction proceedings involving covered persons, with some exceptions. The order takes effect August 1 and expires September 1, 2021.

Additional rounds of rental assistance, as well as the Illinois Homeowner Assistance Fund (ILHAF) that will provide mortgage assistance, will be announced in the coming months. For updates to these programs, visit http://www.ihda.org.

Meanwhile, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Whip James E. Clyburn and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark issued a statement calling upon President Joe Biden’s Administration to extend the eviction moratorium through October 18, 2021.

“On Thursday, the President asked Congress to pass an extension of the eviction moratorium. Sadly, it is clear that the Senate is not able to do so, and any legislation in the House, therefore, will not be sufficient to extend the moratorium.

“Action is needed, and it must come from the Administration. That is why House leadership is calling on the Administration to immediately extend the moratorium. As the CDC doubles down on mask-wearing and vaccination efforts, science and reason demand that they must also extend the moratorium in light of the delta variant. Doing so is a moral imperative to keep people from being put out on the street which also contributes to the public health emergency.

“The virus is still a threat. The moratorium must be extended, and the funds Congress allocated to assist renters and landlords must be spent. An extension of the moratorium is based on public health and the delta variant. It will also give more time to allow the money that Congress allocated to finally flow.

“We call upon the Treasury Department to indicate how the funds that it has already transferred to states and communities can be more effectively distributed to renters and landlords.”


Original story can be found HERE.