Homeowners who have lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic can now seek assistance from the state for mortgage payments.


The Illinois Housing Development Authority is taking applications for grants of up to $15,000 to be made to eligible homeowners who need assistance keeping their mortgages up to date.


The General Assembly allocated $150 million to aid homeowners who have lost income because of the pandemic. The money came to the state from federal aid. The program is expected to provide assistance to 10,000 households.


"At a time when the connection between housing and health is clearer than ever, it is critically important that we keep families stably housed for individual well-being, public health and the recovery of our state’s economy," said Gov. JB Pritzker. "The Emergency Mortgage Assistance program will provide critical support for our homeowners, giving them the time they need to regain their financial footing."


The administration said a recent survey revealed one in 10 Illinoisans have little to no confidence they’ll be able to make their mortgage payment in September.


To qualify for assistance, a homeowner must not make more than 120 percent of the area median income where the home is located. IHDA said that in Springfield that amount is $98,880, in Peoria it is %95,520 and in Rockford it is $83,520.


Also, an adult member of the household must have had a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic since March 1. The mortgage must have been current through February 29 and must now be past due or in forbearance.


People may apply for assistance at ema.ihda.org. Applications are only accepted until Sept. 4. The deadline may be moved up if a large number of applications are received.


If assistance is granted, up to $15,000 can be paid directly to a mortgage servicer to cover past due amounts and to cover future payments until Dec. 30 or when the money is exhausted.


Contact Doug Finke: doug.finke@sj-r.com, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr