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May 2, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich launches the nation’s largest state rental assistance program to provide long-term housing stability for extremely low-income residents
Rental Housing Support Program will assist 4,000 families and individuals over the next several years through rental subsidies

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today launched the country’s largest state rental assistance program that will help extremely low-income residents in Illinois achieve long-term housing stability. Once fully operational over the next three years, the Rental Housing Support Program will assist an estimated 4,000 “rent burdened” extremely low-income individuals and families and those with special needs find safe and affordable rental housing through rental subsidies.

“People need housing that’s safe, decent, and affordable. A stable housing environment is a critical element to helping hard working people get ahead and build better lives. The Rental Housing Support Program will provide long-term housing stability for low-income residents and the communities they live in by enabling them to focus on the other necessities in life such as work, education, and health,” said Gov. Blagojevich.

“Today's announcement highlights Gov. Blagojevich’s commitment to providing affordable housing to families and individuals in communities throughout Illinois as prioritized in his 2008 Annual Comprehensive Housing Plan. The Program is the largest state rental assistance program in the nation and further demonstrates Illinois as a national leader in affordable housing,” said DeShana L. Forney, Executive Director of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).

Under the Rental Housing Support Program, IHDA will award $12 million in grants during the first year to the 14 local administering agencies in both rural and metropolitan communities around the State. Local administering agencies can be local housing authorities, municipalities, or not-for-profit organizations with experience in affordable housing. The local administering agencies will then work with landlords who apply to take part in the Program to make available affordable units to eligible tenants. Tenants will pay rent of approximately 30% of their income and the local administering agency will use grant funds to pay the balance of the rent negotiated with the landlord.

The new program is paid for by a $10 fee collected from real estate document recordings since July 2005, when Gov. Blagojevich signed the Rental Housing Support Bill. 

The Program is targeted at households who earn less than 30% of the median income in the area, or $19,770 per year for a family of four in the Metro East area. Tenants are likely to be extremely low-income seniors and families, people with disabilities or other special needs, or those at risk of becoming homeless.

The following local administering agencies will operate the Rental Housing Support Program in communities around the State.

Local Administering Agency      Service area    Grant amount

        Estimated number of households to be helped    
CEDA    Suburban Cook County    $1,302,642      31     
DuPage County Housing Authority DuPage County (excluding Aurora)        $1,001,166      29     
Housing Authority of Joliet     Will County     $735,372        19     
Housing Choice Partners Suburban Cook County    $1,144,677      32     
Lazarus House   Kane County     $661,638        22     
McHenry County Housing Authority        McHenry County  $741,747        23     
Housing Authority of Henry County       Henry, Stark, Bureau County     $226,908        9      
Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies       Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, Boone, Winnebago, Adams, Brown, Pike, Schuyler, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Saline, Wabash, Wayne, White   $1,628,985      85     
Kankakee County Housing Authority       Kankakee County $273,120        10     
Kendall County Housing Authority        Kendall, Grundy County (excluding Aurora and Joliet)    $879,396        28     
Winnebago County Housing Authority      Ogle, Jo Daviess,  Bureau       $402,930        25     
City of Rockford, Human Services Department     City of Rockford        $1,364,814      56     
Springfield Housing Authority   City of Springfield     $429,780        19     
St Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department     St Clair County $1,373,181      43     
        TOTAL   $12,166,356     431    

To find out more about the Program, please contact the local administering agency listed above in your area or visit www.ihda.org. under “Multifamily Programs”. Landlords who are interested in participating in the Program in future can call IHDA at 312-836-5200 to speak with April Lasker, Program Manager. Please note that the City of Chicago will be allocated funds for the Rental Housing Support Program from the Chicago Low Income Housing Trust Fund. For more information about Chicago’s Program, please contact the Department of Housing at 312-742-8400.

“The Rental Housing Support Program will have an immediate impact on working individuals and families who already spend a disproportionate amount of their income on rent, and are left with little else for food, bills, healthcare, and education,” said Alice Jackson, Executive Director of St. Clair County’s Intergovernmental Grants Department. “This Program is also unit-based which means that if the current tenant moves away, the subsidy stays to assist the home’s next tenant, benefiting not only the tenant, but also the community.”

The Rental Housing Support Program is part of Gov. Blagojevich’s commitment to affordable housing. Illinois’ efforts to increase affordable housing options for its residents is guided by the Governor’s annual Comprehensive Housing Plans, which provide a road map for how to leverage housing dollars. The 2008 Housing Plan: Prime Solutions for Affordable Housing identifies $709 million in spending earmarked for affordable housing at six different state agencies that will help approximately 7,932 Illinois residents. 

The Comprehensive Housing Plans are developed by the Governor’s Housing Task Force, and organized and led by IHDA. The 35 members of the Task Force are advocates, developers, lenders, and state agency representatives. Copies of Illinois’ Comprehensive Housing Plans are available at www.ihda.org.


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