Do you need help in paying your rent, mortgage, security deposit, or utilities?



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Do you need help in paying your rent, mortgage, security deposit, or utilities?
The purpose of rent, mortgage, security deposit, or utility assistance is to help solve a temporary financial emergency that caused a family or individual to be unable to pay a first month of rent or a security deposit or caused the family or individual to become behind in rent, mortgage, or utility payments. Families or individuals are eligible for assistance only if they are able to remain current in their payments after receiving assistance.
Facts about assistance:


  • There are many kinds of assistance including funds provided by the Chicago Department of Human Services, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Illinois Department of Human Services, private foundations, and agency resources.

  • Assistance may be limited to $500, $750, or $1,000 and may be used for one to three months of payment depending upon the source of the funds. The funding source sets specific eligibility requirements for the funds provided.

  • Agency caseworkers interview applicants and determine the appropriate funds for each situation.

  • Each agency carefully screens requests so that funds will be used to help the greatest number of families and individuals in need.

  • Applicants for funds must be willing to answer personal questions about their situation, allow the agency to contact the landlord or utility, and agree to participate in follow-up services.

  • All of the agencies that provide assistance share information. Generally, if you receive assistance from FEMA or Homeless Prevention Funds, you cannot receive this assistance from more than one agency. Some forms of assistance may be used together. Some forms of assistance can be used once every two years. Some forms of assistance can be used once per year. The agency you work with will explain the requirements for each type of assistance.


Do you need help with rental assistance?

You may be able to get help from:
Chicago Department of Human Services

Rental Assistance Program




Eligibility





  • Must be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

  • Meet low-income guidelines

  • Have proof of a steady income

  • Demonstrate need for the assistance

  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain regular monthly rental payments

  • Must be a Chicago resident

To Apply


Call the City of Chicago at 311

You will be given the location of the Chicago Department of Human Services Community Services Center nearest to your home. Applications for assistance and additional information are available at the Community Services Centers.


Other Resources
Many non-profit agencies in Chicago provide rental assistance.
Each agency has specific requirements for eligibility. However, all agencies that provide rental assistance require that the applicant:


  • Must be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

  • Meet low-income guidelines

  • Have proof of a steady income

  • Demonstrate need for the assistance

  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain regular monthly rental payments

  • Must be a Chicago resident


Some of the larger agencies that may be able to help with rental assistance are:
Catholic Charities

Information and Referral

(312) 655-7700
Heartland Human Care Services

Prevention Information Line

773-728-5960 x500
A list of agencies that may be able to help you is included


  • Elderly and disabled renters may be eligible rebate of a portion of paid rent through the State of Illinois Circuit Breaker program. The information number is 1-800-624-2459.



Do you need help in paying a security deposit in order to move from shelter to permanent housing or to move from unsuitable housing to more appropriate housing?
There are fewer resources for help in paying a security deposit than there are for rental assistance. In general, the same agencies that provide help with rental assistance are able to help an applicant access help with security deposits. Most agencies expect that you will seek help with either rental assistance or security deposit, rather than help with both.

Do you need help in paying your mortgage?
The following are special considerations about mortgages:
If your payment is very high because of extra fees or a very high interest rate, you may be the victim of predatory lending. If so, you should seek legal advice.
If you are at imminent risk of foreclosure because you are many months behind in mortgage payments, you should seek legal advice.
Legal help may be available from:
Legal Assistance Foundation

312-341-1070

Lawyer’s Committee for Better Housing

312-347-7600


The Chicago Department of Human Services does not offer assistance with mortgage payments. However, the agencies listed under Other Resources may be able to do so.
Eligibility requirements are the same as for rental assistance.

Real Estate Taxes


  • Funds available for mortgage assistance cannot be used to pay Real Estate taxes.

  • The Cook County Treasurer provides information about Real Estate Tax Relief programs. The information number is 312-443-5100.

  • Elderly and disabled property tax payers may be eligible rebate of a portion of paid Real Estate taxes through the State of Illinois Circuit Breaker program. The information number is 1-800-624-2459.

Do you need help in paying utilities, that is, gas, electric or water bills?
There are many programs to help with utility assistance. The following are a few with an outline of their eligibility requirements and telephone numbers to call for information.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)-a program of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs is administered in Chicago and Cook County by the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, Inc. (CEDA). This program provides assistance in paying for the energy that provides the primary source of winter heat, that is, gas, electricity, or heating oil.

Eligibility

  • Meet low-income guidelines;

  • Energy bill in the applicants name; or

  • Rent greater than 30% of income if heat is included in the rent; and

  • Other program requirements.

Information available at 312-795-8844
SHARE THE WARMTH – 312-240-4000

Can pay up to $200 toward an arrearage. Income level may go to 200% of poverty. Peoples Gas Customer Service may combine with LIHEAP in emergencies.



Eligibility

  • Residential heating customer for at least one heating season;

  • Owe past due bills;

  • Between 125-200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines;

Grants are limited to $200 per household for each heating season.
Peoples Energy has many payment plans that help budget the cost of energy and that help arrange for reconnection of service. Some of these programs require medical certification. If you experience problems in paying for gas, call customer service immediately to review your situation. Peoples Energy does not disconnect gas service during very cold weather, but catching up in the spring can be a serious burden and result in losing service. The Peoples Energy Customer Service telephone number is 312-240-7000.
ComEd is the provider of electric service for the Chicago area. ComEd offers a Budget Billing Plan to stretch the cost of electricity over 12 months and a Deferred Payment Plan to avoid disconnection on overdue bills. ComEd also offers the Clear Path program once during the year. The Clear Path program provides the opportunity to make partial payment on overdue bills. For information on these programs call ComEd Customer Service at 1-800-EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661).
City of Chicago, Department of Water issues bills and arranges payments for water and sewer service in Chicago. Senior citizens may be eligible to have the cost of sewer service deleted from payments. The Department of Water also may arrange payment plans or agree to partial payments for senior citizens, disabled individuals, or individuals with chronic medical conditions. For information call the City of Chicago, Department of Water at 312-744-7038.

Other Resources
Many non-profit agencies in Chicago provide utility assistance.
Each agency has specific requirements for eligibility. However, all agencies that provide utility assistance require that the applicant:


  • Must be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

  • Meet low-income guidelines

  • Have proof of a steady income

  • Demonstrate need for the assistance

  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain timely utility payments

  • Must be a Chicago resident


Some of the larger agencies that may be able to help with utility assistance are:
Catholic Charities

Information and Referral

(312) 655-7700
Heartland Human Care Services

Prevention Information Line



773-728-5960 x500

Do you need help in paying for telephone service?
AMERITECH offers two programs that may help you. They are the LINK-UP program for assistance in phone connection and the LIFELINE program for assistance in paying the monthly cost of service.

Eligibility


  • Local phone service provided by Ameritech, and

  • Receive Federal Housing Assistance, or

  • Medicaid, or

  • Food Stamps, or

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or

  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP).

Information about these programs is available at 1-888-256-5378.

AMERITECH sometimes will put off telephone disconnection for thirty days if you are ill and arrange for a doctor to complete a statement verifying your illness and your need for a phone due to your illness. This does not, however, forgive the bill and needs to be renewed every thirty days. Phone use is reviewed each month to determine whether the phone is being used for emergencies. Call the phone number for customer service on your phone bill for information regarding this program.





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