Housing relief grants open Aug. 10

Renters and homeowners can apply for relief set aside in this spring's emergency Illinois legislative session. State Rep. Delia Ramirez gave the outlines of the program at the East Village Association's Aug. 3 online meeting.

Staring Aug. 10, renters can apply for up to $5,000 in rent assistance to cover COVID-19 related hardships, drawn from $396 million in federal coronavirus relief funds. Five local organizations are administering the $150 million available on a first-come, first-served basis, Ramirez said. On Aug. 24, the mortgage relief program opens with $150 million set aside, up to $15,000 per household. Ramirez will offer details in online information sessions Aug. 11-13; her office is open by appointment.

With Latinx testing positive for COVID-19 at twice the rate of other ethnic groups, Ramirez secured Medicaid benefits starting Sept. 1 for undocumented seniors with incomes of $12,670 or less. Mobile COVID-19 testing raises the state's capacity 30,000 tests a day, including walk-up testing sites in East Village and Ukrainian Village. In member questioning, Ramirez pledged to consider arts relief; EVA contributed $1,000 to the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund.

And what about House Speaker Michael Madigan? "I ran to make Springfield different," Ramirez said, repeating her call that Madigan should resign if he is implicated in a bribery investigation. She plans to make utility relief grants using a $500 ComEd campaign contribution. 

In a divided vote Aug. 1, EVA's board recommended the group not oppose emergency patio seating for Inner Town Pub, 1935 W. Thomas St. President John Gantner said EVA had not reviewed the application until 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins asked July 29 for an advisory opinion.

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