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Winnebago County distributes more than $2 million to landlords

Renters and landlords across the state utilize more than $252 million of rent relief funds.
Renters and landlords across the state utilize more than $252 million of rent relief funds.
Renters and landlords across the state utilize more than $252 million of rent relief funds.
Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:19 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced Thursday the Illinois Rental Payment Program distributed more than $252 million. Winnebago County received $8 million of the state funds in February, and dispersed $2,606,259 of it as of last week.

“We feel for them. We want to help them and do our best,” said Winnebago County Emergency Rental Assistance Program Manager Suzanne Fahnestock. “We’re trying really hard to simplify as much as we can, without compromising the requirements that we have to comply with.”

Fahnestock said the staff works daily to ensure applicants have the resources they need.

“We’re proud of extending our services. We actually designate one day in the week where we want to make sure we reach everyone in the community,” said Fahnestock.

Fahnestock said some people don’t have a computer or access to the internet. Employees set up in person meetings to assist them. Winnebago County representative Paul Arena owns rental properties in the area. According to Arena, national assistance has been slow, but locally it’s picking up.

“There’s just a hand full who really have been in trouble. And the fact that there’s a strong job market, and there’s this access to rental assistance money, I think it’s providing a safety net for a lot of them,” said Arena.

Winnebago County has until the end of August next year to use the funds. According to Fahnestock, the county needs to spend at least 60 percent of the funds by the end of this month. She said they’re working constantly to be sure to reach everyone who needs it.

If you want to check your eligibility for assistance, go to https://www.illinoisrentalassistance.org/.

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