The IL Equal Justice Foundation has been charged with distributing grant funding to civil legal aid and mediation organizations to assist Illinois homeowners in danger of losing their home due to the financial hardship of the pandemic.

The primary focus of the funding is directed at downstate homeowners, though funding Cook County programs will be considered. Any funding directed toward Cook County is subject to availability and will complement and coordinate with the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing & Debt (CCLAHD) Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program.

Identified service gaps include access for undocumented individuals downstate and higher income individuals.  Priority will be given to proposals to serve these populations.


Funding is provided by the State of Illinois to support legal and mediation services for foreclosure prevention from January 21, 2022 to July 15, 2023. The grant budget is approximately $2,1800,000.


Organizations are eligible to apply for a grant from the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation if they:

  • Are certified and in compliance with the Illinois Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) requirements;
  • Have a demonstrated track record in providing legal assistance or mediation services to individuals impacted by foreclosure;
  • Are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Provide services to Illinois residents set forth in the “Purposes” section.  To determine if a particular project qualifies for a grant, see the specific guidelines for the categories noted above.
  • Provide services to low-income people free of charge. Low-income is defined as a household income at or below 100% Statewide Area Median Income (AMI). Services for people with incomes of up to 150% statewide AMI can be funded through this program, though low-income people are the primary focus.


  • Funds provided by the State of Illinois, including funds distributed by the IEJF, may not be spent on a sectarian purpose.
  • Said funds may not be used for the purpose of lobbying; encouraging political activities, labor or anti-labor activities, boycotts, picketing, strikes or demonstrations; or investigative or legal compliance activities related to a pending dispute.
  • No more than 10% of grants awarded by the IEJF can be used for indirect costs unless the applicant has a higher state/federal negotiated reimbursement rate.  Failure to abide by this may jeopardize future funding from the IEJF.


The grant period will be January 21, 2022 – July 15, 2023, and the application and review process will follow this schedule:

  • January 26, 2022 – Applications are available at

  • February 7, 2022– Completed applications & proposals due

  • February 10 – February 11, 2022 – Virtual site visits

  • March 3, 2022 – Board decisions announced



Grant requests will be evaluated on the factors listed below and the criteria listed under each funding category.

  • Demonstrated need for the proposed services and location of applicant’s service-delivery to ensure geographical reach throughout the State of Illinois.
  • Applicant’s experience in providing said service, as indicated by the experience levels and qualifications of key staff and the numbers of persons served in prior years.
  • Commitment to services for vulnerable and underserved populations.
  • Efficient service delivery which takes into consideration factors such as the relative costs of the applicant’s services; cooperation and coordination with other entities to avoid duplication of effort; the use of volunteers; and the use of technology to increase access to services and to maximize productivity.
  • Sound organizational management, including indices such as the fiscal health of the sponsoring organization; realistic income and expense budgets for the project; evidence of active involvement and oversight by a qualified advisory board and/or board of directors; and demonstrated technical efficiency and protection of client data.
  • Use of evaluative and measurement techniques that measure success, effectiveness, and efficiency as it relates to organizational mission, learning, and improvement are encouraged.
  • Use of Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.) objectives are encouraged.
  • Service projections should be proposed with the initial application and progress toward those goals will be reported on quarterly.

The IEJF is committed to equitable salaries for legal aid providers and encourages applicants to develop a reasonable pay scale, training and support program for its personnel to ensure that client services are not interrupted by unplanned staff turnover.


Grant payments will be disbursed quarterly following receipt of program service and financial reports for actual costs incurred during that preceding quarter. Payments are dependent on receipt of funds from the State of Illinois. Grantees may request advance payments for implementation of the Illinois Emergency HAF Program. The process and approval for advance funds will be determined by IEJF. Subsequent payments will be based on quarterly financial invoices to reconcile payments previously advanced.


Applications must be submitted electronically on/by February 7, 2022.

Application procedures and forms will be available by January 26, 2022 via the IEJF grantee portal.  The “Apply” button on the top left will allow you to select your funding category and apply.

Grant reports must be submitted via the online portal as well.

All grantees must submit quarterly program service reports and financial invoices by the following dates for services provided and actual costs incurred in the preceding quarter.

UPDATED May 12 2022. Dates have changed due to new guidance from IHDA.

  • April 8, 2022 (for Jan 21 – March 31 2022 services and expenditures)
  • July 8, 2022 (for April – June 2022 services and expenditures)
  • October 7, 2022 (for July – September 2022 services and expenditures)
  • January 9, 2023 (for October – December 2022 services and expenditures)
  • April 7, 2023 (for January – March 2023 services and expenditures)
  • August 11, 2023 (for April – July 15, 2023 services and expenditures)

A detailed final report (including outcomes and demographic information) will be due on or by August 18, 2023.  Please note that this date is subject to change if guidance from the US Treasury or IHDA changes.

Failure to submit reports in a timely manner may jeopardize distribution of grant funds, as well as future IEJF funding.

Applicants should note that IHDA requires the collection and quarterly reporting of the following data points (in the aggregate):

  • Demographic data including the number of people served, the zip code and county of residence, age, gender, ethnicity, race and language spoken.
  • The number of people completing an IHDA ILHAF mortgage assistance application.
  • The number of people directed to apply for legal aid from the IHDA webinar.
  • The total number of homeowners that applied for legal aid that fall outside the 150% statewide AMI limit.

Applicants should note that the US Treasury requires the collection and quarterly reporting of the following data points (in the aggregate):

  • The number of unique homeowners that received assistance from the program.
  • The number of unique homeowners at or below 100% statewide Area Median Income (AMI).
  • The number of unique homeowners classified as “Socially Disadvantaged Individuals” (SDI) who received assistance any kind. A homeowner is considered a socially disadvantaged individual if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • The homeowner or a member of their household has limited English proficiency.
    • The homeowner is Hispanic/Latinx.
    • The homeowner is:
      • American Indian or Alaskan Native
      • Asian
      • Black or African American
      • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
      • The homeowner lives in one of the following zip codes:
        60085 60419 60617 60639 60827
        60090 60426 60619 60641 60901
        60099 60435 60620 60643 61101
        60101 60438 60621 60644 61103
        60110 60466 60623 60645 61109
        60120 60473 60624 60649 61604
        60133 60478 60626 60651 61832
        60153 60505 60628 60652
        60402 60506 60629 60653
        60406 60609 60632 60659
        60409 60612 60636 60707
        60411 60616 60637 60804
      • The number of delinquencies resolved through legal services.
      • The number of delinquencies resolved through mediation.
      • The number of non-delinquent homeowners that are receiving legal services under the program.
      • The number of non-delinquent homeowners that are receiving mediation services under the program.
      • The amount of HAF assistance (obligated or expended) used for administrative expenses.
      • Homeowner retention success tracked and reported at least six months after receiving any type of assistance.