ROCKFORD (WREX) — For families unable to pay rent or utility bills because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Winnebago County announced an application-based service to pay past-due rent and utility bills.
Winnebago County renters who make less than 80-percent of the US median household income are eligible for the rent assistance if they can prove a loss in household income since April 2020. For example, a family of four would be eligible if the household income is less than $55,700 annually.
CLICK HERE to access the application page.
The initial application period runs through April 15. According to City of Rockford Human Services Executive Director, Anqunette Parham, the portal will accept applications from the first through the fifteenth of each month until the $8.3 million provided by the US Treasury Department runs out.
All applicants will receive notification of whether or not their application was approved. According to Winnebago County, Tenants are responsible for paying any amount of past due rent or future rent, in full, that is not covered by this grant program.
“This grant provides much needed relief to both tenants and landlords,” said Winnebago County Chairman Joe Chiarelli. “Many county residents lost their jobs and perhaps have not been able to make their rent payments for the first time in their lives. This allows them to catch up, wipe the slate clean and move forward as our region recovers from COVID-19.”
Mayor Tom McNamara applauded the collaboration between the City of Rockford and Winnebago County at a news conference Monday to announce the details of this effort.
"We have some residents in our community who are literally deciding, do they pay their rent or do they pay for medicine or food that they need for themselves and their families," McNamara said.
Landlords are encouraged to apply on behalf of their tenants. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months if it is determined the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and funds are available.