Application Process




With the Rental Subsidy Program (RSP), properties apply to the Trust Fund for a given number of rental subsidies, in order to reduce the rent cost on a specified number of units. The goal is to create a unit rent rate that is affordable for very low-income individuals and families. The subsidy is intended to pay the difference between what qualified low-income tenants can afford to pay and qualified owner-established market rate rent.

Landlords accepted into the program receive a one-year, renewable grant and are paid on a quarterly basis in advance. Renewals with properties are based on successful performance and funding availability.

A note about tenants: Properties apply to participate in the Rental Subsidy Program — not tenants. The Trust Fund does not approve tenants or have a waiting list of tenants for the Rental Subsidy Program. Households seeking the benefit of a rental subsidy apply to the approved building for a unit that has been approved for subsidy.


Applying to the RSP

There are various ways in which an application is considered for the Rental Subsidy Program.

Open Enrollment (CLOSED)

Property Owners can request an application by sending an email to,

Social Service Partner

Approximately 40 percent of the subsidies that the Trust Fund approves are tied to a social service partner, such as those participating in the Homeless Dedicated Initiative or other special initiative. For those units, the social service partner identifies a client who is eligible for a Rental Subsidy Program unit and then works to identify a property that will lease to the tenant.

Change in Rental Subsidy Program Agreement

On rare occasions, a currently approved property and the Trust Fund end their Rental Subsidy Program agreement. Reasons include the sale of the property, the unit going to the private market, or non-continuation due to cause. When this happens, the existing tenant will be provided the opportunity to identify a new unit. The newly identified property must complete the same application and documentation as they would under any other application process. The application is reviewed for the same criteria of housing safeness and unit affordability.

Special Initiative

From time to time, the Trust Fund Board of Directors may allocate funding to a special initiative. In 2011, the Trust Fund Board programmed $2.5 million in rental subsidies to the initiative Homeless Dedicated Prevention to assist households benefiting from an expiring program. Applications were accepted from properties where the tenants currently resided with goal of preventing homelessness.

Application Considerations

Property owners interested in applying to the Rental Subsidy program should consider the following:

  • The building must be in the City of Chicago. The Trust Fund does not fund subsidies outside of the City of Chicago.
  • The building or development must be well maintained, comply with all applicable local, state and federal laws, contain no conditions that would endanger the health and safety of its residents, and meet Housing Quality Standards. A site inspection will be conducted on behalf of the Trust Fund prior to acceptance into the Program. Re-inspections of the unit / property will be completed annually.
  • Proposed buildings or developments must be financially viable and show evidence upon request.
  • A maximum of one-third of the building’s total units may be subsidized through all programs of the Trust Fund, not simply limited to the Rental Subsidy Program. Exceptions to this policy may be considered for buildings on a case by case basis and on good cause shown.
  • The gross rent amount charged (that is, the tenant portion plus the Trust Fund subsidy) must be consistent with market conditions, comparable to other neighborhood rents and must include heat. (Note: Some early agreements did not have this requirement.)
  • Landlords are expected to market available subsidized units in a manner that allows broad access to qualified low-income tenants and are expected to comply with all laws concerning discrimination and fair housing.
  • Subsidies cannot be used to assist the property owner or manager’s family.
  • Low-income individuals or households that receive rental assistance under other programs are not eligible for this program.
  • Landlords are required to submit annual income verifications for households assisted by the Rental Subsidy Program. All households are required to be within the income limits outlined in the income limits chart. This chart is updated annually by the City of Chicago in response to the report released from the U. S. Department of Housing and Economic Development.
  • Landlords are expected to enter into written leases with qualified tenants with terms no shorter than one year.
  • The Trust Fund establishes a flat rent rate for the tenant portion and is based on the two income tiers targeted by the Trust Fund. Rent rates can increase over the life of the unit participating in the Rental Subsidy Program due to the costs of operating a building. The rent rate increase can be applied to the tenant share or the subsidy share based on the application for a change approved by the Trust Fund Board of Directors.
  • Properties provide basic referral information for social services that could be beneficial to low income households to support them remain stably housed.
  • Rental Subsidy Program payments will be advanced on a quarterly basis after submission by the Landlord of all required documents. Adjustments will be made retroactively for vacant units and Landlords are not paid for vacant units.
  • Property owners must submit a complete application to be considered.

Important Note: Submission of an application does not mean acceptance into the Rental Subsidy Program. Properties should keep unit(s) in the private market until an Agreement is issued and a tenant identified.