By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Renters and homeonwers struggling to make their payments during the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for help under a new $300 million aid program from the State of Illinois.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program will allocate $150 million to help income-eligible residents across the state pay their rent during the COVID-19 crisis. Following the application period for rental assistance, IHDA will open applications for emergency mortgage assistance, providing another $150 million to homeowners impacted by COVID-19.

With applications now available, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) will support Illinois tenants unable to pay their rent due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. Tenants whose applications are approved will receive one-time grants of $5,000 paid directly to their landlords to cover missed and future rent payments.

Apply online at: era.ihda.org.

Tenant Eligibility:
• Household income before March 1, 2020 was at or below 80 percent of the area median income;
• An adult member of the household must have had a loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis on or after March 1, 2020; and
• Household has an unpaid rent balance that began on or after March 1, 2020.

Available Aug. 24, the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) will assist homeowners who have experienced a COVID-19-related loss of income resulting in past due mortgage balances starting March 2020. Approved applicants will receive up to $15,000 paid directly to their mortgage servicer.

Apply online at: ema.ihda.org.

Homeowner Eligibility:

• Household adjusted gross income from 2019 Tax Return was at or below 120 percent of the area median income;
• An adult member of the household has had a loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis on or after March 1, 2020;
• Homeowner’s mortgage was current as of February 29, 2020;
• The mortgage is past due or in forbearance.

Financial assistance from both programs is funded through Illinois’ allocation of federal coronavirus relief funds.