Applications Extended for Emergency Rental Assistance

Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

If you live in suburban Cook County and lost income due to COVID-19, know someone who has, or are a landlord with tenants struggling to pay rent—the deadline to apply has been extended to April 9 at 5pm. To learn about the eligibility requirements and documents needed to apply for rent and utility help visit or keep reading.

Applications opened on March 11 and close Friday, April 9 at 5pm.

Designed for suburban Cook County renters and landlords who have experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cook County Emergency Rental Assistance program pays up to 12 months of missed rent and utilities payments and up to 3 months of future rent payments. Payments will be made directly to the resident’s landlord and utility company.

Get prepared and apply!

1. Check your eligibility at

2. Download the application checklist (see Downloadable Resources below) and gather your documents

3. Apply online at

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is eligible?

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Live in suburban Cook County and rent their home (Landlords may apply on behalf of eligible tenants)
  • Lack access to other support (e.g., don’t live in public housing or receive rental assistance from other programs during the same time period)
  • Have proof of financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Have a household annual income at or below these requirements:

Household size


















What counts as a COVID-19 related financial hardship?

  • Losing your income
  • Working fewer hours
  • Being furloughed
  • Quitting your job because you are at high risk for COVID-19 and need to self-isolate
  • Losing work to stay home to care for a child

What documents do applicants need?

See Downloadable Resources below

For renters: Renters can begin the application process by visiting First, they should gather all of their application documents and then they can follow the link to the application porta. Once they apply, their landlord is notified and asked to complete their portion of the application.What is the application process for renters and landlords?

For landlords: Landlords may apply on behalf of their tenants. First, they should gather all of their application documents and then they can follow the link to the application portal to apply. Once they apply, their tenant will be notified and asked to complete their portion of the application.

For tenant representatives: For renters with barriers to access technology, a community organization representative can register and complete the application on behalf of the renter. The application has the same questions and requirements.

Can residents apply for both rent and utilities assistance?

This program is designed to provide rental assistance with the option of utility assistance. Residents can choose to apply for rental assistance only or for rental and utility assistance, but cannot apply for utility assistance only.

Are residents guaranteed to get assistance?

Unfortunately, funding is limited. We are expecting a high volume of applicants so assistance is not a guarantee.

How does Cook County decide who gets assistance?

Once the application window has ended, we will randomly select from all the eligible applicants. Preference will be given to households where at least one member has been unemployed for 90 days prior to applying or have a household annual income at or below these requirements:

  Household    size


















What happens after residents apply?

\When an eligible application is approved, residents will receive an email notifying them of approval. The applicant’s landlord will receive a direct deposit for the approved amount.

How are funds distributed?

Payments will be made directly to landlords and utility companies. The entire amount will be paid in one transaction.

Are Chicago residents eligible?

No, only residents of suburban Cook County are eligible for this program. The City of Chicago has its own rental assistance program. For more information, go to

Are residents in public housing or receiving a Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) eligible?

No, individuals and families who currently receive federal housing assistance are not eligible.

Are residents in a LIHTC-sponsored rent-restricted affordable housing units eligible?

Yes, applicants who live in designated affordable units are eligible as long as they do not receive a federal rent subsidy such as a Housing Choice Voucher.

If a resident lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has been receiving supplemental unemployment insurance (UI) or received a stimulus check does this money count toward their household income?

No, unemployment supplements or stimulus payments are not counted toward the 80th percentile maximum.

Are residents eligible if they received rental assistance in the past?

Yes, residents can apply for rental assistance even if they received it in the past AND as long as they are not receiving rental assistance from another source during the same time period.

If residents need help applying, who do they contact?

For questions and language translation services, please contact the Cook County Emergency Rental Assistance Program helpline at 877-426-6515. For additional help completing the application, call the Housing Forward Stability Services Team at 708.338.1724 ext. 303 or 327.

If you need assistance visit today. To assist others, please spread the word about this program before Friday, April 9.

Downloadable Resources:

Landlord Checklist

Renter Checklist

Program Flyer (English/Spanish)