May 18 (UPI) -- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced a $1.5 billion expansion to the state's rental relief program to aid those suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic governor announced the expansion Monday during a press conference, stating it will ensure 120,000 more household renters will receive relief.
Residents who rent their home, are behind on payments and experienced financial hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic are eligible to apply for up to $25,000 to be paid directly to their housing provider or landlord, he said.
"It was clear when we implemented last year's housing relief programs that the need was far greater than the dollars allocated to our state," he said. "That's why I'm pleased to announce today that Illinois is expanding rental relief to $1.5 billion, nearly four times the amount that was available last year."
Pritzker added that later this summer an additional $400 million on top of the $1.5 billion will be made available for mortgage assistance.
The move Monday expands the Illinois Rental Payment Program, which last year provided more than $329 million in past due rent and mortgage payments from more than 56,000 households, he said.
"The need is far greater than the number of families we were able to help last year, that's why today's announcement is so meaningful," he said. "Tens of thousands of families across Illinois will receive substantial assistance to help overcome the financial crisis the pandemic brought to their lives."