Rental Subsidy Program

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Dedicated to providing financial assistance to meet the housing needs of Chicago’s poorest residents, Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund offers the Rental Subsidy Program. The Rental Subsidy Program provides rent subsidies to owners of qualified buildings or developments located in the City of Chicago.

Creating Stability

The Trust Fund is committed to housing and community stability. To achieve that, the subsidy stays with the approved building or development to provide ongoing affordable housing. The subsidy is not portable and does not move with any one tenant.

The permanency of the Trust Fund subsidy provides opportunity for:

  • The building to have a stable rent base
  • The family to have stability in their housing situation
  • The family to care for the unit and become a part of the surrounding community

Program Details

Who Can Participate

Both non-profit and for-profit landlords can participate in the Rental Subsidy Program, offering a variety of housing types that include single-family homes, two flats, multi-unit apartment buildings and large single room occupancy (SRO) developments.

Properties are approved for a specific number of rental subsidies. Generally, no more than one-third of the units of the building will be subsidized by the Trust Fund. This discourages over-reliance on the subsidy while ensuring an income mix among tenants.

How a Subsidy Works

  1. Application process
    The property completes the Trust Fund’s Rental Subsidy Program application and inspection process.
  2. Approval and agreement
    Based on the approval of the Board of Directors, an agreement is issued between the property and the Trust Fund. Agreements are annual and renewable based on the agreement and the availability of funding.
  3. Leasing the unit
    The property accepts applications for the unit and the benefit of the subsidy. The property screens tenants and leases the unit based on their leasing requirements. Leases are generally one-year in length; certain exceptions do apply. If a tenant leaves the unit, they are not eligible to take the subsidy with them to another unit in the marketplace. Properties can rent any vacant subsidized unit to another income-qualified household in order to continue to receive the rental subsidy allocated to that unit. In the leasing process, it’s important to note that the Trust Fund:

    • Approves the subsidy for the unit and not for an individual or household
    • Does not approve the tenant (but is responsible for review of documentation of income qualification and issuance of a lease agreement)
    • Does not mandate leasing criteria other than the property must follow the rules of Fair Housing and the Chicago Landlord / Tenant’s Rights Ordinance
  4. Supplying Documentation
    The property provides documentation to the Trust Fund including:

    • On an annual basis, documentation of the lease
    • On a quarterly basis, documentation that the tenant / household meet the income eligibility requirements
    • Rental Subsidy Payments
      In order for a property to receive rental subsidy payment, their unit must be occupied by a low-income household and have submitted all required documentation.

Allocation of Trust Fund Resources

The Trust Fund is required to use at least 50 percent of its resources for households earning less than 15 percent area median income and the balance of its resources for households earning 16 to 30 percent area median income.

Special Initiatives

Approximately 40 percent of Trust Fund subsidies are directed towards special initiatives. This includes assistance for individuals and families to enable them to move from shelters and outdoor spaces into permanent housing, persons living with HIV/AIDS, female headed households in job training programs, and veterans.

More Information

More information about the Rental Subsidy Program can be found in the Program Guide.