CHICAGO (CBS)-– Struggling to pay rent or utility bills? Applications for Chicago’s new $80 million Emergency Rental Assistance Program are now open through 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday June 8.

The program is funded through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act Congress passed in December 2020.

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The ERAP will provide grants for up to 12 months of unpaid rent as well as three months of future rent payments to Chicago residents who have “suffered a hardship due to COVID-19” — such job loss, reduced work hours, or illness within the household — or are at risk of housing instability. Applicants also must have earned less than the maximum income threshold for their household:

Household Size  Income Limits 
1 $52,200 
2 $59,650 
3 $67,100 
4 $74,550 
5 $80,550 
6 $86,500 

Check out the ERAP website for more details on eligibility needed to apply. A government-issued photo ID is required along with proof of monthly rent and household income.

“Over the course of this pandemic, residents all across Chicago and our entire country have been forced to reckon with a wave of socioeconomic fallout like nothing any of us had ever experienced before in our lifetime,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said as she announced the new rental assistance program, the third such program the city has launched since the start of the pandemic.

Gov. JB Pritzker has announced he will be phasing out the statewide moratorium on evictions by August, which Lightfoot said makes this rental assistance program all the more necessary in the coming months.

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The mayor said the program would ensure people most at risk of eviction due to low income are able to get help paying their rent and utilities. Landlords also may apply on behalf of renters.

“So whether it’s through the landlord or direct payments to the renters, we want to make sure that we blunt what Is, we all fear is, an eviction and housing crisis coming just down the pike,” Lightfoot said.

Chicago Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara said more than 83,000 people applied for the city’s first round of rental assistance last year, but the city only had enough funding to help about 2,000 households.

A second round of rental assistance, totaling approximately $24 million in funds through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, helped about 8,000 more households.

Novara said the city will be working with more than a dozen community groups to help guide those who don’t have technology access through the process.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff