Today’s update focuses on rental relief in Illinois, a call nationally to extend the eviction ban, how Illinois families stand as covid has likely erased gains from post recession, a new home price record, and the release of airport aid.
As a reminder, we have talked with one of our chamber members, KODO CARE, about offering vaccines to companies that would like to set up a vaccine day or program for their employees. If you are interested in finding out more details, please contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then get you in touch with our member provider.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
Pritzker Administration Receives 70,000 Complete Applications for Rental Relief Funding in Four Weeks
Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that the Illinois Rental Payment Program has paid out $70 million to landlords on tenants’ behalf in 87 counties as the Authority reviews the nearly 70,000 applications it has received for rental assistance. An additional $17 million has been approved and is in the process of being paid out with hundreds of millions of additional dollars expected to be sent out the door in the coming weeks in response to applications totaling $664 million in requests for assistance for past due and future rent payments. IHDA is continuing to review applications as quickly as possible and is prioritizing requests for tenants who are unemployed and those with very-low household incomes.
To further assist renters affected by the pandemic, tenants will be able to apply for ILRPP assistance directly and invite their landlord to participate in the program beginning June 28. Tenants will also be provided a pathway to complete their application should they have unresponsive landlords.
Tenants will have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 18 to complete their portion of the application at ILRPP.IHDA.org.
“Even before the pandemic, over 70 percent of extremely low-income families in Illinois were dedicating more than half of their income to rent. Then in the face of the pandemic, many suddenly found they were being laid off, or their workplace was permanently closing, or they needed to stay home to care for children or immunocompromised family members. That’s why I am pleased Illinois is expanding rental relief to $1.5 billion, nearly 4 times the amount that was available last year,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The Illinois Rental Payment Program will ensure more than 120,000 household renters see relief, with more renters potentially being touched in the future, too. Any eligible resident who rents their home, is behind on payments, and experienced financial hardship in the pandemic is eligible to apply for up to $25,000 of rental assistance paid directly to their housing provider or landlord.”
Launched in May 2021, ILRPP is an emergency rental assistance program providing up to $25,000 to support households in Illinois that are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This round of ILRPP assistance will deliver over $500 million in assistance and is expected to assist 63,000 households. To date, IHDA has received applications from households in 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties. Approximately 90% of the 8,890 approved applications to date have assisted households who have been unemployed for more than 90 days, and 99% of approvals have assisted very-low-income households to keep vulnerable tenants in their homes while they regain financial solvency. The program has provided an average of $9,491 per household.
ILRPP is funded through an appropriation in the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (P.L. 116-260), which passed in December 2020. This legislation included $900 billion in stimulus relief for the COVID-19 pandemic, with $25 billion allocated for state and local government rental assistance programs. The Illinois General Assembly provided additional guidance for how this funding can best reach those most in need and increased protections for those facing eviction through the passage of the COVID-19 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program Act (P.A. 102-0005).
Additional rounds for rental and a new mortgage assistance program will be announced in the coming weeks for households still struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and American Rescue Plan Act (P.L. 117-2) both provided these emergency funds so the state of Illinois can continue to aid struggling Illinois renters, housing providers and homeowners.
Be sure to continue to monitor www.ihda.org for future program updates and announcements.
Illinois Rental Payment Program
The Illinois Housing Development Authority launched the Illinois Rental Payment Program (ILRPP) to provide eligible renters up to $25,000 paid directly to their housing provider. Assistance will be matched to the tenant’s specific need and will cover up to 15 month of emergency rental assistance, including up to 12 months of missed rent payment and three months of future rent payments. The coverage period is June 2020 through August 2021. Tenants and housing providers can submit a joint application at ILRPP.IHDA.org.
After the housing provider and tenant have both submitted their application, they will each receive an Application ID via email. Applicants may use this ID to check the status of their application at ILRPP.ihda.org/status.
For additional information, contact the ILRPP call center at: 866-454-3571.
House Democrats Urge Biden to Extend Eviction Ban
A group of 44 House Democrats on Tuesday pressed President Joe Biden to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide ban on evictions before it expires at the end of the month.
The lawmakers — led by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) — said in a letter to Biden and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky that without further action “millions of renters will once again face the threat of eviction” next week.
“Evictions take lives and push households deeper into poverty, impacting everything from health outcomes to educational attainment,” they said. Democrats are urging Biden to extend the eviction ban with some 6 million renter households behind on rent, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The CDC first issued the ban in September, citing a public health law that gives the agency certain powers to prevent communicable diseases from crossing state lines. Though Congress and the White House later extended the policy three times, landlords have challenged the eviction moratorium in courts around the country. The National Association of Realtors applied for Supreme Court relief earlier this month, and the case is pending.
Congress has allocated more than $46 billion in emergency rental assistance for state and local officials to distribute to struggling tenants, but much of that money still hasn’t reached the hands of landlords, who are still on the hook for property taxes, mortgage payments and operating costs.
On Tuesday, the lawmakers writing to Biden did not give a timeline for how long the eviction moratorium should be extended. But they said it posed an urgent racial justice issue and pointed to data indicating minority households were at greater risk of losing their homes. They also called for the current ban, which prohibits eviction for the nonpayment of rent, to be “significantly strengthen[ed].”
“The Biden Administration must aid those facing eviction by extending and significantly strengthening the current CDC moratorium to ensure the protections are automatic, self-executing, and that tenants are not expected to navigate a myriad of overly burdensome eligibility requirements in order to safely remain in their homes,” they said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Child tax credits arriving next month, but study finds pandemic likely erased post-recession gains for Illinois families
As the White House spreads the word this week about the new child tax credit slated to begin next month, a study released Monday finds that post-recession gains for struggling Illinois families could be reversed by financial hardships wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, which was released Monday to coincide with Child Tax Credit Awareness Day, shows that “an insufficient response to the crisis could erase nearly a decade of progress in child well-being following the Great Recession,” officials at the nonprofit said in a Monday statement.
The report ranks the states from 1 to 50 in terms of child well-being on the eve of the pandemic and “shows how the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated inequality, with Black and Latino kids and families struggling the most,” foundation officials said.
Illinois ranked 21 overall, according to the 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a 50-state report released annually to track child well-being in the United States, officials said. Childhood poverty had been declining before the pandemic, even as other indicators remained relatively consistent, officials said. In 2019, 16% of Illinois children lived in households with an income below the poverty line, and 4% of Illinois children did not have health insurance, according to the report.
“The expansion of the child tax credit is the main recommendation included among policy solutions,” officials said, adding that experts estimate “it will lift more than 4 million children above the poverty line in 2021.” As Congress has authorized the child tax credit for only one year, officials are urging, “lawmakers across the aisle to find common cause and ensure the largest one-year drop ever in child poverty is not followed by the largest-ever one-year surge.”
In addition to overall decreases in poverty, Illinois children in 2019 saw improvements in reading and math proficiency; fewer children lived in areas of high poverty; and their parents were less frequently unemployed and overburdened by housing costs, officials said.
Still, despite some gains in the decade following the recession, officials are concerned about the “full impact that COVID-19 will have on Illinois children, particularly poor children of color,” Bill Byrnes, a KIDS COUNT project manager at Voices for Illinois Children, part of the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago said Monday. “For Illinois, our children fared better in the years following the recession, but we’re concerned about the racial/ethnic disparities,” Byrnes said.
Indeed, the report showed that Black children lived below the federal poverty level at a rate of 34%, — more than two times that of the state rate of 16%, Byrnes said. Latino children were below poverty level at a rate of 20% and white children at 9%, Byrnes said.
Also troubling is the report’s finding that from 2017 to 2019, 45% of children in Illinois ages 3 and 4 were not in school, with young Latino children not in school at a rate of 53% — the only group to exceed the state rate, Byrnes said. In 2010, 162,000 children did not have health insurance, but by 2019, that number had decreased by 20% to 120,000, Byrnes said.
Among the disparities were findings that Latino and Black children lacked health insurance at higher rates than other racial/ethnic groups Byrnes said. Data from the Household Pulse Survey — which was collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and multiple federal agencies to gauge the impact of the pandemic — shows that 9% of adults in Illinois with children in the household lacked health insurance.
The report also found that 23% of the state’s households with children said they had little or no confidence in their ability to pay their next rent or mortgage payment on time — a number that decreased to 19% in March 2021, according to the report.
Byrnes said the arrival of the new child tax credit for working parents “will keep a whole lot of people from falling behind on their bills and other payments.” “Getting an extra $250 to $300 a month might not sound like a lot of money, but it can make all the difference in the world to struggling families,” Byrnes said. “The main problem is, it only lasts a year, and these are problems families were having before the pandemic … trying to figure out how to pay for childcare, and barely making ends meet.”
On Monday, federal officials said nearly all U.S. families with kids will qualify for the new child tax credit, with couples making less than $150,000, and single parents making less than $112,500 qualifying for the full benefit. The automatic payments, which were enacted as part of the American Rescue Plan, are slated to begin next month, with monthly payments of up to $300 per child, officials said.
President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan proposes extending the credit beyond 2021, White House officials said in a Monday statement.
U.S. Airports to Receive $8 Billion to Help Pay Bills as Travel Recovers
U.S. airports are set to receive $8 billion in government grants to help them emerge from the coronavirus pandemic that decimated travel last year. Air travel is returning, but airports say they are still grappling with lower traffic volumes, high debt payments and new costs stemming from the pandemic.
The grants announced by the Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday, which were included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package approved in March, will help ease financial burdens until travel fully recovers, airports say.
Airports can use the fresh round of funds to cover operating costs, to pay debt service, or for new expenses related to preventing the spread of disease, like installing air filters or stepping up cleaning practices. Funding levels are based largely on an airport’s 2019 traffic, with some money earmarked to cover rent payments for concessions operators. Airports must also commit to keeping 90% of employees as a condition of accepting the funds.
Leisure travelers have flooded back into airports in recent months. Some 2.1 million people passed through U.S. airport security screening Sunday, the highest number since the pandemic began to decimate air travel in March 2020, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Still, passenger volumes remain about 25% lower than pre-pandemic highs, according to TSA figures. Many international markets have been hobbled by restrictions and business travelers have yet to return in masse. Some airports, particularly those that serve as international gateways, have felt those losses more heavily than others.
Airports in cities that are popular with vacationers, such as Key West, Fla., and Bozeman, Mont., are busier than ever. But scheduled capacity is still down significantly at airports in big cities like New York and San Francisco, according to Cirium, an airline data provider.
Fewer passengers mean those airports are bringing in less revenue, including from so-called passenger facility charges that help fund many airport infrastructure projects.
Other sources of income like parking and rental-car revenue also dried up during the pandemic. Airports Council International-North America has estimated that the pandemic’s hit to U.S. airports will total about $40 billion. At the same time, airports are on the hook to pay about $16 billion to service their debt in 2020 and 2021, the group said earlier this year.
The fresh round of aid brings the total government assistance to airports during the pandemic to $20 billion. Airports previously received $10 billion under the Cares Act passed in March 2020 and another $2 billion under another stimulus package passed in December.
U.S. Existing-Home Prices Hit Record High in May
U.S. home prices in May experienced their biggest annual increase in more than two decades, as a shortage of properties and low borrowing rates fueled demand. The median existing-home sales price in May topped $350,000 for the first time, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. The figure was nearly 24% higher than a year ago, the biggest year-over-year price increase NAR has recorded in data going back to 1999.
Sales prices have been climbing sharply since last summer, when lockdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic eased across the country and many people rushed to find more space and bigger homes. Others working remotely seized on the chance to move to a less expensive city.
The price increase is contributing to a slowdown in the pace of home sales. Existing-home sales fell 0.9% in May from April, marking the fourth straight month of declining sales, NAR said. Sales are also slipping because there aren’t enough homes on the market to meet demand, say economists and real-estate agents. Homes that are for sale are moving quickly. The typical home that sold in May spent 17 days on the market, matching the record low reached in April, NAR said.
Buyers with limited cash for down payments are struggling the most to compete. Just over half of existing-home buyers in May who used mortgages put at least 20% down, according to a NAR survey. “Affordability appears to be now squeezing away some buyers,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “There are so many people who have been outbid, frustrated they are unable to buy.”
Mortgage applications for home purchases have slowed this spring, another sign that a number of buyers are holding off. Applications fell 17% from a year earlier in the week ended June 11, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Some 35% of consumers surveyed by Fannie Mae in May said it was a good time to buy a home, a record low in data going back to mid-2010. “From our perspective, it’s almost all driven by the attitudes about price,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae.
Yet even with some buyers in retreat, the housing market remains hot by most other measures. Homes are getting multiple offers, and low mortgage rates keep fueling demand. More than half of homes sold above their list price in May, according to real-estate brokerage Redfin Corp.
Program Notices & Reminders – Expanded Information
|Special Presentation: Small Business Compliance with Department of Labor
Did you know that most employees in the U.S. are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? As an employer, are you aware of and meeting your obligations?
The chamber recently joined with Andres Mendez, a Benefits Advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division and the Employee Benefits Security Administration for an overview of the COBRA premium assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, federal wage and hour laws, and how they are enforced.
Click here to view the special presentation: https://youtu.be/n5tWXm1BDyE
Connect with the Workforce Center
Visit the Workforce Center of Will County’s web page for more information about the programs, services, and activities available for Will County businesses and residents.
Small Business Tax Credit Programs
Small Disadvantaged Business Contracting Goal News
On June 1, 2021, the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration announced new steps to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in communities that have been left behind by failed policies. Specifically, the Administration is expanding access to two key wealth-creators – small business ownership and homeownership – in communities of color and disadvantaged communities.
Federal Contracting Webinar Series
Do you need help with federal contracting? The ChallengeHER webinar series offers education and training on the federal contracting system. Below is a list of upcoming webinars.
Finally, here is the registration information for the Legislative Coffee on Thursday, June 24 at 8:30 AM. We’ll be meeting with Senator Connor, Senator Loughran Cappel, Representative Manley, Representative Walsh Jr., and Representative Batinick. Join us to hear about a variety of topics. More info and registration here: http://jolietchamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/2021-legislative-coffee-series-june-24-with-local-elected-officials-6073
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry