The coronavirus pandemic has pushed thousands of people nationwide, including here in Evanston, to the brink of homelessness. Only state and federal eviction moratoriums have prevented that so far.

But even the rent is put on hold, it has to be paid eventually. And if tenants are hanging by a thread, so are “mom and pop” landlords who have a mortgage to pay themselves, but can’t do so without income from their renters.

A new assistance program from the City of Evanston will help both. Using $450,000 federal dollars, the program pays from two to six months worth of an individual or family’s delinquent rent. And the money goes straight to the landlord.

“We’re trying to target the people with the greatest need,” says Sarah Flax, the city’s Housing and Grants Manager.

Eligible renters must meet certain criteria. They have to live in parts of the 2nd, 5th, 8th, or 9th wards, and must be able to show the pandemic is the reason they’re behind on rent. There are also income guidelines, which work out to $31,850 per year for a single person, and $45,500 for a family of four.

The downside, Flax says, is that “we’ll have more need than the money to help.” The estimate is 40-to-50 households might be assisted. The potential number who could use the subsidies, she notes, is far higher.

Applications are now being accepted via email at, or by phone at 847-448-8112.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *