Understanding the Impacts of Emergency Housing Grants on Housing Stability
Public health measures instituted in response to the novel coronavirus in March 2020 have resulted in unprecedented increases in unemployment. This mass unemployment will leave many already rent-burdened Chicagoans unable to pay for housing. While the closure of eviction courts and moratoria on the execution of eviction orders will prevent immediate displacement, these measures simply delay the inevitable for many families. In response, the City of Chicago Department of Housing (DOH) has partnered with the Family Independence Initiative (FII) to launch the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant, which will provide 2,000 unconditional grants of $1,000 to impacted Chicagoans. This rapid and large-scale investment is unprecedented for DOH and is already seen as a model by other cities. The Poverty Lab has partnered with DOH and FIIto better understand the impact of this investment. Because grants were administered via an open lottery and through DOH delegate non-profit agencies, the launch of this program offers an opportunity to learn about the impact of the grants and about how different communities within Chicago access resources.