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City creates grants to help residents with rent, mortgage payments

Lightfoot sets aside $2 million from an affordable housing fund to help those whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference at City Hall about the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Chicagoans whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus can get help with rent or mortgage payments under a grant program Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday.

Lightfoot said 2,000 grants of $1,000 each will be made in early to mid April. The $2 million allocated will come from the city’s Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, which is bankrolled by developers building market-rate housing.

Residents can apply through the Department of Housing at chicago.gov/coronavirus and over the phone through community-based organizations. You must show evidence of job or income loss related to the coronavirus and prove your income was at or below 60% of the area’s median. City officials said the median annual income for a family of four is about $53,000.

Half of the grants will be awarded through a lottery, while the other half will be distributed by community organizations across the city.

“Due to the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 crisis, we have a responsibility as a city to support of our residents and families during their urgent time of need,” Lightfoot said. “This program represents a critical resource not only to our communities but our entire city as we navigate this evolving challenge and ensure every Chicagoan remains safe, healthy and secure.”

City officials sad the program is offered in partnership with the Family Independence Initiative, which helps families out of poverty.

Lightfoot said she will try to find additional funds for a later round of grants.