CHICAGO (CBS) — Rent is due in a matter of days and millions are out of work.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has been talking to those monitoring the housing situation, and the numbers of those struggling to pay rent will be even greater than last month.

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The government has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to keep people fed and with a roof over their head.  But if that aid doesn’t get to those who need it most, then what happens? It is especially trying when rent comes due.

In a pounding rain, James and Rinska count their blessings.

“We are privileged and fortunate enough to have a savings and I am praying for the souls who don’t have that as an option,” said Rinska Carrasco of Roscoe Village.

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But candid talk from the deck of their apartment shows with rent due, those finances are drained.

“This is going to be the first time where it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet and get rent paid,” added James Bateman.

Rinska is an actor-director. James opened the Andersonville restaurant Gadabout. Promised federal aid has yet to reach them, though they’ve tried.

“I applied for the PPP and Rinska applied for unemployment from her other job,” Bateman said.

“If I get it, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t. It’s not changing my circumstances today,” Carrasco said.

John Bartlett directs the Metropolitan Tenants Organization.

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“I think you will see more tenants that are not able to pay their full rent this time,” Bartlett said. “There are more people who have been laid off since the beginning of the month.”

His advice to renters is typically to work out a late payment with your landlord.


“I think it’s particularly hard on the small landlords the two to four flat owners,” Bartlett said.

They have mortgages to pay as well and often rent to those with limited incomes.

“They are on a much tighter budget. They can’t handle a prolonged period of not receiving rent,” he added.

“We really don’t have any income so to speak at the moment and it’s terrifying,” Bateman lamented.

And on a day when the weather matches the mood of the country, they know there’s worry to spare.

“It’s a business. They have a mortgage to pay. We’re all in the same boat,” Carrasco said.

So if the rent due, what can you do?

There is a statewide moratorium on evictions until the end of May. That buys you some time.  Once that passes, it takes several weeks for your case to work its way through the courts.

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As always, ask your landlord if there is some way they can work with you on a late payment.