Help to prevent evictions lagging in Kane County as moratorium's expiration looms
Only $4.3M of $15M in aid for Kane County residents, landlords has been distributed
With the eviction moratorium set to expire in Illinois this weekend, numbers show Kane County is far short of its goal for using federal dollars to prevent local residents from becoming homeless.
Illinois' eviction moratorium will expire Saturday unless Gov. J.B. Pritzker takes action to extend it again. There is also a federal eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control that doesn't expire until Oct. 3.
Those additional 43 days may help stem what could be a flood of eviction notices and subsequent court cases not seen since the housing crash of 2008.
So far, the three-month effort to help renters and landlords in Kane County is operating at a slow pace.
The county received about $15 million from the federal government to help local residents who fell behind on rent payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. County officials believed that money could help up to 2,800 residents out of the 22,000 renters they estimated could be facing evictions.
The county contracted with the Illinois Housing Development Authority to have state officials handle the county's money. That decision allowed Kane County residents a seamless method to tap into the $835 million the state also received from the federal rental assistance program.
The most up-to-date data on how that effort is going shows $4.36 million of Kane County's allocation has gone to 251 households as of the end of July. That's out of 1,272 applications for assistance submitted by local landlords who have requested a total of $12.3 million, according to numbers provided by Scott Berger, the county's director of community reinvestment.
There is a second pool of 524 applications submitted by local tenants seeking $5.2 million in assistance. None of those applicants had received any money as of the end of July.
That means out of the 22,000 renters who may need help, only 1,796 (about 8%) have applied for the available money. And only about 1.1% of Kane County residents possibly needing assistance have received it so far, according to Berger's numbers.
County board member Jarett Sanchez, who is leading the committee that oversees all of the federal pandemic relief money Kane County receives, said all those numbers point to one obvious fact.
"We need more time," Sanchez said. "Everyone is afraid of the tsunami of evictions that are expected to come through when the moratoriums expire. We have money to help prevent that, but we need more time so we can help the people who need to be helped."