FAQs

Statewide Eviction Legal Aid/Mediation Response FAQs

February 26, 2021

1. What is the vision for the project?
2. Who can apply? Can these funds be used to support court personnel? Or just 501(c)3   organizations?
3. If an organization is part of the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing & Debt (CCLAHD), can they receive funding from this program? For things not funded by CCLAHD?
4. Can these funds be used to address mortgage foreclosure?
5. What is the grant budget and spending period?
6. Will grantees be required to bill monthly like the Access to Justice grants?
7. What documentation is required to demonstrate direct costs?
8. Will indirect costs be allowed?  What documentation is required to demonstrate indirect costs?
9. Will grantees be required to submit monthly program service reports?
10. When is monthly reporting due to IEJF?
11. Funds are targeted at helping people who earn 80% of area median income (AMI) or below. Is there a statewide AMI standard to determine eligibility? Juggling county by county is difficult for intake.
12. What happens if the state and/or federal moratorium continues to be extended? How can grantees make projections with uncertainty around this? Can funds be carried over beyond June 30?
13. If funded and there are open cases with the funding through June 30, can funds be rolled over to support those cases open prior to July 1, but still lingering after July 1?
14. Is funding guaranteed for FY 22 (July 1 – June 30, 2022)? Will a new RFP be released for FY 22?
15. Is the state interested in a long-term funding relationship to address eviction-related issues beyond the pandemic?
16. Are budget revisions allowed?
17. Can programs hire nonlegal staff?
18. How will rental assistance interact with this pilot?
19. Will there be certain intake hours required for programs funded via the pilot?
20. Can these funds be used for outreach OR does IDHS have an outreach plan we are to follow? Can we brand the hotline/chatbot? If programs already do a weekly info session on eviction, can this be funded with these funds?
21. Can these funds be used to support equipment?
22. Who should I contact about RFP and application questions?

1. What is the vision for the project?

The IL Department of Human Services (IDHS) is funding a number of initiatives to mitigate the eviction crisis including rental assistance, legal assistance, case management and outreach that includes community navigators and a public relations campaign.  The first initiative and the subject of this request for proposals is legal assistance and mediation services.  The IL Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) has received a $2M contract to develop, grant and evaluate this program.

The IEJF envisions a service delivery model that includes a statewide hotline number that can route callers to the appropriate legal aid provider via zip code, a housing chatbot and online resources to provide basic information on the law and the project resources, pilot mediation programs in a limited number of jurisdictions and advice, negotiation and representation services by legal aid providers and pro bono attorneys across the state. These services will work in coordination with rental assistance programs and the support of IDHS outreach efforts.

2. Who can apply? Can these funds be used to support court personnel? Or just 501(c)3   organizations?

These funds can only be used by GATA-certified, 501(c)3 organizations.  The funds are to be used to provide legal assistance and mediation services for eviction mitigation.

Court programs can partner with mediation and/or legal aid organizations on this work.  Court programs are not 501(c)3 organizations and cannot apply for these grants directly.

Nonprofit programs that can facilitate access for vulnerable populations (ie, language access) but do not provide legal/mediation services for eviction are encouraged to partner with mediation/legal aid organizations that need that assistance. These nonprofit organizations can also apply for funding directly through IDHS when grants are available under their Outreach strategy.


3. If an organization is part of the Cook County Legal Aid for Housing & Debt (CCLAHD), can they receive funding from this program? For things not funded by CCLAHD?

These funds will be primarily focused on regions of the state that do not have an established and funded Early Resolution Program.  These funds will not be used to support already-funded programs like Cook County’s Legal Aid for Housing & Debt (CCLAHD).  We envision possibly funding things like direct representation in Cook County if we do not receive enough requests from other regions of the state.  Establishing eviction response resources across the state is the priority.

To learn more about CCLAHD, go to https://www.cookcountylegalaid.org/.

4. Can these funds be used to address mortgage foreclosure?

No.  The funds are to be used to provide legal assistance and mediation services for eviction mitigation.

5. What is the grant budget and spending period?

The grant budget is approximately $1.8M and all funds must be expended by June 30, 2021.

The contract date is anticipated to be March 15.  If programs have provided eligible legal or mediation services starting January 1, 2021, they can include those personnel costs in this request as a separate line item. These expenses will be reviewed on a case by case basis for eligibility.

There are no set grant amount ranges.  When a making request, applicants should be cognizant of the short funding time frame.  If the funds are not earned during the period, they will not be released.

6. Will grantees be required to bill monthly like the Access to Justice grants?

This is a reimbursement-based grants program like the Access to Justice grants program is.  The IEJF requested a two-month advance and will be able to provide some grant funds once contracts are signed. Grantees will need to bill against that advance during the monthly financial reports before new funds will be released.

7. What documentation is required to demonstrate direct costs?

A copy of the general ledger with program expenses highlighted is necessary to demonstrate direct costs.  Receipts for any individual expenses over $500 are also necessary.  Grantees should keep all financial records for this program for a period of five years for state audit purposes.  It is preferred that budgets list staff names, but titles and designations like # of FTEs are acceptable. Indicate in the justification your plans for staffing for this program. Actual reimbursements will need to reflect who was paid to do the work. Contractors can be hired to provide legal/mediation services.  IDHS will provide further guidance on a “pooled” attorney approach for staff and contractors.

8. Will indirect costs be allowed?  What documentation is required to demonstrate indirect costs?

Indirect costs are allowed.  If a grantee has already negotiated an indirect rate with the State of Illinois, they will need to provide a copy of that authorization.  Otherwise, the indirect cost rate is 10% and a copy of the general ledger with indirect program expenses highlighted is necessary to demonstrate indirect costs.

9. Will grantees be required to submit monthly program service reports?

Yes.  These reports will be due with the financial reporting and will be based on your service projections.  We will ask for level of service, outcomes and demographic data in the final report due July 25, 2021.

10. When is monthly reporting due to IEJF?

The 9th or 10th of each month (April – July 2021) depending on whether the 10th falls on a weekend.

11. Funds are tareted at helping people who earn 80% of area median income (AMI) or below. Is there a statewide AMI standard to determine eligibility?  Juggling county by county is difficult for intake.

There is no statewide AMI standard, as the purpose of AMI is to show the median income in that region.  IDHS will provide further guidance on whether we can use Chicago AMI as the standard.

12. What happens if the state and/or federal moratorium continues to be extended?  How can grantees make projections with uncertainty around this? Can funds be carried over beyond June 30?

Funds cannot carry over past June 30, 2021. You are only able to seek reimbursement for services during the grant period.

Information, advice, mediation and negotiation services are anticipated to be the majority of services provided in this first round of grants due to the eviction moratorium. The federal moratorium runs through March 31 with attempts to extend that until September.  It is likely the state will follow the federal lead on this.  While direct services will also be funded, it is anticipated that these services will not ramp up until there is clarity on when the moratoriums will end.

Projections are difficult under these circumstances.  The IEJF is encouraging applicants to make realistic projections on the total number of services your organization can provide by June 30 and to report this monthly.  The final report will ask you to break this down into level of service, outcomes achieved and demographic data.

13. If funded and there are open cases with the funding through June 30, can funds be rolled over to support those cases open prior to July 1, but still lingering after July 1?

Funding cannot be rolled over past June 30.  Funding is anticipated for FY 22 so open cases should be able to be funded with those funds.

14. Is funding guaranteed for FY 22 (July 1 – June 30, 2022)?  Will a new RFP be released for FY 22?

This project is included in the budget presented by Governor Pritzker on February 17, 2021 for $3M for FY 22.  See https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/budget/Pages/default.aspx. This will need to go through the General Assembly’s budget process this legislative session.

If funding is approved for FY 22, it is uncertain at this time whether the IEJF would release another RFP for which existing grantees would need to apply, would continue FY 21 grantee contracts, or only open an RFP for organizations not receiving funding in FY21.

15. Is the state interested in a long-term funding relationship to address eviction-related issues beyond the pandemic?

The state understands that the eviction crisis existed prior to the pandemic. They are encouraged that these funds will provide a pilot opportunity to demonstrate the impact of legal interventions of this kind.  A successful pilot could lead to future funding.

16. Are budget revisions allowed?

The short time frame of this grant makes getting through the IDHS budget revision process untenable.  Applicants are encouraged to make realistic budget requests taking into account the short funding timeline.

17. Can programs hire nonlegal staff?

Programs can hire nonlegal staff with these funds to assist with helping to move tenants through the service network.  This can include intake, case management, helping to apply for rental assistance and referrals to other programs in the grant network.  These staff members/contractors can be placed in settings – like the court – that are outside of the grantee’s offices.

18. How will rental assistance interact with this pilot?

IDHS is working on a distinct pot of emergency rental assistance for grantees of this grants program. This would be separate from the rental assistance funds being distributed by the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA).  More details to come.

IDHS will also help connect this grants program to IHDA’s rental program as well as to its own Continuums of Care should the aforementioned pot of funding be depleted quickly.

The goal is for all of the rental assistance projects to be operational in April.

19. Will there be certain intake hours required for programs funded via the pilot?

Certain intake hours are not required, but the goal is that a caller will get comparable service no matter where they reside in the state.

20. Can these funds be used for outreach OR does IDHS have an outreach plan we are to follow?  Can we brand the hotline/chatbot? If programs already do a weekly info session on eviction, can this be funded with these funds?

IDHS is funding a public relations campaign for the entirety of its eviction programming.  They will share those assets with all of the programs involved to spread the word about services.  Legal aid/mediation grantees are encouraged to use these assets.  Funds for legal aid and mediation grants should be directed at services rather than major outreach expenses.  IDHS is exploring this issue internally with more guidance to come.

21. Can these funds be used to support equipment?

Yes, but difficult to budget for and document percentage of use in such a short grant period.

22. Who should I contact about RFP and application questions?

Contact Leslie Corbett at lcorbett@iejf.org with questions about the RFP, grant application and process by March 5, 2021.