Englewood tenants facing evictions despite rental assistance 

Lack of oversight left funding open to exploitation by unscrupulous landlords

Chicago Tenants Face Eviction Despite Rental Assistance
1150-1158 West 64th Street (Google Maps, Getty)

Several tenants at an Englewood apartment building found themselves facing eviction despite receiving substantial rental assistance from the state.

Six residents of the 10-unit complex at 1150-1158 West 64th Street were dragged into court over alleged unpaid rent, prompting accusations of harassment and intimidation against the property manager, Legacy Red, Illinois Answers reported

The saga unfolded around a rental assistance program, administered by the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which provided grants to struggling tenants during the pandemic. The program sent rental payments directly to landlords and was praised for its quick delivery.

But a lack of oversight and enforcement left tenants vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords. 

The Englewood tenants, approved for rental aid, were shocked to receive eviction notices, raising questions about the integrity of the assistance process. 

Some landlords falsely claimed non-payment, exploiting administrative errors to evict tenants, said Nicole Capretta, an attorney with Legal Aid Chicago. 

“If I could wave my magic wand and propose a solution that would make things better all around, it would be that plaintiffs in a non-payment case should be required to file a rent ledger showing how and why money is owed,” she told the outlet.

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The situation at the Englewood building worsened as the landlord, Hosanna Mahaley, faced legal battles over ownership disputes and utility bills. Despite receiving substantial grants, Mahaley allegedly failed to address tenants’ needs, leaving them with inadequate heating and unresolved maintenance.

Residents like Deesty Neal and Jacqueline Hodges faced aggressive eviction attempts, including threats and unauthorized entry by strangers. While rental assistance rules prohibited eviction post-payment, landlords often disregarded those agreements, the outlet said.

Cook County’s Early Resolution Program offers legal aid to tenants facing eviction. But with thousands of tenants in need, city and state agencies “don’t have the capacity to follow up on whether landlords are playing fair,” Bob Glaves, executive director of the Chicago Bar Foundation, told the outlet.

Stakeholders are advocating for increased oversight and accountability to prevent future exploitation and ensure equitable distribution of resources.

Meanwhile, the rental-assistance program in this case is running out of funds. It launched in 2020 with a $1 million allocation from federal CARES Act money, and that’s expected to run out “in a few years for sure,” said Bob Glaves, executive director of the Chicago Bar Foundation.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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