All About the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in Chicago

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All About the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in Chicago

The City of Chicago has gotten over $100 million in rental assistance funds under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). ERAP was designed to offer help with rent and other housing expenses for people affected by Covid. So many residents lost their jobs or had to quit to stay home with the kids when schools closed, that the city was facing the possibility of thousands of evictions.

The problems with ERAP are that it's only for people who can prove their hardship is due to Covid, and the deadline for applying for relief was in October 2021. So what are your options if you're behind for reasons that have nothing to do with Covid, or missed the deadline for applying? DoNotPay can help you apply for , and find other resources to give you a hand.

RAP Is Still an Option

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, is still providing emergency housing assistance through the Rental Assistance Program (RAP). This program is ongoing and not part of any Covid relief. RAP provides help with rent to Chicagoans who are at risk of eviction due to a loss of income or an emergency expense that left no money for rent. Here's what RAP covers, in a nutshell.

  • Payment of rent in arrears or future rent to forestall an eviction
  • Assistance with security deposits to help with emergency housing needs that arise from eviction, domestic violence, or the three Fs—fire, flood, or foreclosure.

DoNotPay has lots of tips and information for navigating the RAP if you need some help with housing expenses, as well as .

How Do I Know if I'm Eligible for RAP Money?

Here are the eligibility requirements for RAP assistance.

  • You live in the city of Chicago
  • A loss of income or household emergency has put you at risk for eviction or homelessness
  • Your household is classified as low-income—$67,000 for a family of three is the benchmark
  • Your landlord has completed RAP requirements

How Can I Prove My Eligibility?

RAP requires you to prove you're eligible to receive housing help. You'll need to provide at least one of the following forms of proof and identification.

  1. Drivers license, Illinois ID, CityKey card, or other state-issued ID
  2. Paystub, benefits statement, or affidavit confirming you have no income with an explanation
  3. An eviction notice, proof of income loss, or other proof of qualifying emergency
  4. Copy of your lease and landlord agreement forms

What Will Happen After You Apply

Once you complete and submit an application, a case manager will be in touch with you to make sure your application is accurate and complete. They may need more documentation if you forgot to include some information. Once your application is complete, you will set up an in-person visit, video call, or photo inspection to confirm that your house or apartment meets federal housing guidelines.

How Long Does It Take To Get the Funds I Need?

The city websites don't offer any information about how long it takes to have your application approved, but they do say that once all the paperwork is done and the landlord has met their requirements, approval is quick. Although there is some red tape to work through, the city is sensitive to time constraints if you are trying to avoid eviction. Most landlords will not try to evict if they know they're getting paid back in the next couple of weeks; waiting is easier and usually quicker than going to court to evict tenants.

How Much Money Can I Get Through Rap?

You can qualify for up to six months of rental payments with rental assistance, but the actual amount depends on your circumstances. Your case manager can explain your benefits.

Can I Get Help if I Live In Subsidized Housing?

You can get help, but only for past due rent. RAP can't help with future rent payments.

I Have HIV. Can I Get Rental Assistance?

There are dedicated resources for helping residents with HIV get rental assistance. Call the HIV Resource Coordination Hub at (800) HUB-4040.

Where to Apply for Rap Help

You can apply online at If you can't apply online, Also, the City of Chicago Community Service Centers can help you fill out the paperwork in person. Here's where they're located. Community centers are open Monday through Friday, from 9-5.

NameAddressPhone Number
Englewood Community Service Center1140 West 79th Street, Chicago, IL 60620,312.747.0200
Garfield Community Service Center 10 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612312.746.5400
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Center4314 South Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60653312.747.2300
North Area Community Service Center845 West Wilson Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640312.744.2580
South Chicago Community Service Center 8650 South Commercial Avenue, Chicago, IL 60617312.747.0500
Trina Davila Community Service Center4312 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639312.744.2014

Let DoNotPay Apply for You

If you need help paying your rent, chances are good that you're already overwhelmed. Sign up with DoNotPay and find the home page for help with rental assistance, then simply follow the prompts. Upload any documentation to prove your case, and we'll apply on your behalf. When you let DoNotPay handle the application, you know it's done right, with no time-consuming errors to correct. This means you'll get your rent money sooner, and relieve some of your stress.

How to Apply for Housing Assistance in Chicago With DoNotPay

We can compose a letter to your local housing authority based on your situation and inquire about your best options for receiving assistance. Here are the 4 steps:

  1. Search for Rental Assistance on DoNotPay.

  2. Put together a list of your income, debts, expenses, and assets. If you need help accessing information like your credit report, DoNotPay can help you get your report.

  3. Let DoNotPay collect your basic information and compose a letter to your local housing authority requesting rental assistance.

  4. Lastly, DoNotPay will send your letter to your local housing authority.

Other Ways DoNotPay Can Help

DoNotPay can help you solve other problems, too—both large and small. For instance, we can help you lower payday loans, cancel online services, even help you get Section 8 housing.

Our state-of-the-art technology is here to help you navigate life with a little less stress!

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