Individuals and families at risk of eviction or homelessness are encouraged to apply for emergency rental assistance through SAL Community Services. Through December 31, 2022, qualifying residents of Henry, Mercer or Rock Island counties are eligible for post-lease and pre-lease applications, according to a press release.
“Our focus is stability,” said Loredia Nunn-Dixon, director of SAL’s Open Door Crisis Assistance program. “When your home is stable, you can focus on everything else, whether it’s education, work, or taking care of your health. And if we can keep people where they are, that means landlords aren’t going to leave without tenants. This program is a win-win for all of us.”
At SAL, the need for rental support during the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent early on as many people lost income. An earlier rental support measure by the organization focused on immigrants and refugees, a demographic disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the pandemic. The current funding — nearly $800,000 from the Illinois Department of Human Services — is open to anyone in the community.
“That’s what we do at SAL: We steer services to people who are in crisis or in need,” Nunn-Dixon said. “Nine times out of ten we can refer you to another location unless the services you need are not available elsewhere. That’s why it’s so important for us to have those rental support dollars.”
To receive assistance, residents must be directly or indirectly entitled to unemployment benefits, lost household income, are facing higher expenses, or have experienced other financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. They must also be able to prove that they are at risk of homelessness or eviction because of their inability to pay. Finally, their household income must be no more than 80 percent of the area’s median income, with priority given to households earning no more than 50 percent of the median income. Applicants must provide proof of income, rental agreement, and other documentation. Proof of immigration status is not required.
Those who qualify may be able to get up to 15 months of post-rent and an additional three months of pre-rent. If they have found a new apartment to rent after previously experiencing homelessness, they may be eligible for funds to cover a security deposit and a rent prepayment. Assistance services are also available.
Since Nunn-Dixon closed its last round of funding this summer, she has seen significant interest in rental support. The SAL team has been in touch with local housing authorities to refer at-risk tenants, contacted housing complexes and hired a staff member to help deal with inquiries. As of today, funding is still available and must be applied for by the end of the year.
“It’s tough out here — we see it,” Nunn-Dixon said. “After December there will still be demand. We want our legislators, our companies, and our funders to know that their support is vital. We want our community members to know they matter.”
To learn more or to apply, contact Loredia Nunn-Dixon at [email protected] or 309-793-8201.
ABOUT SAL COMMUNITY SERVICES
SAL Community Services provides support, advocacy and learning for communities from childhood through adulthood. Its mission is to empower children, families and individuals to build and nurture thriving communities.