From Awareness to Action

First, we needed to educate our audience (renters and their housing providers/ landlords) about the two statewide rental assistance programs. Then, convert awareness of the programs into applying for assistance.

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141, 000

Households and Counting Received Rental Assistance

over $800 million

in Rental Assistance Distributed

Swift with the Street Smarts

Connecting Vulnerable Illinois Households to Emergency Rental Assistance

In the wake of the pandemic, Illinois received $1.5 billion in federal emergency rental assistance funding intended to prevent evictions for people most at risk of losing their homes due to the COVID-19.  This grant money was designed to prevent evictions for people most at risk of losing their homes: low-income families, disabled renters, veterans, and renters of color.

According to our client, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), there were 414,000 vulnerable people in 60,000 households in IL experiencing housing insecurity.

The stakes were high for this project because the eviction moratorium on COVID-related evictions was set to expire shortly after establishing our partnership.

Project Scope




Web Design

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At Vera, our purpose-centered process always starts with the people we serve and learning about the realities they face

By receiving first-hand insights, such as concerns of immigration status, providing personal information, and fear/skepticism of government aid, allowing us to present information in a clear, transparent language.

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With that information, and the compassion and innate ability to listen to concerns and respond in a respectful and informed manner, our outreach team began a community effort to get the word out with simple, engaging messaging.


Vera created marketing materials that gave our audience an easy-to-digest overview of both statewide programs.

We supported the creation of print and digital materials for partner organizations to distribute.

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Working with trusted sources in each community our Outreach Teams delivered informational materials in languages as diverse as the people we served

including Spanish, Polish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Tagalog, and English. Whether they were door-to-door or strategically handing out fliers at faith-based or neighborhood events The CORE, our outreach team, played an invaluable role in spreading the word and answering questions along the way.  Additionally, social media played a key role in helping renters and landlords easily share the rental assistance program.

Outreach Toolkit

We created an outreach toolkit to facilitate grassroots engagement in 102 Counties across Illinois.

To make it easy to spread the word about rental assistance, we created a printed and digital outreach toolkit in multiple languages. It served as a comprehensive guide providing overviews of the two rental assistance programs; how to determine which best suited for renters or landlords, utility assistance, and legal aid. This toolkit made distributing the fliers, palm cards, and posters simple. The toolkit also included a FAQ section with clickable links so our Outreach Team could easily consult a chart and immediately determine if applicants were income-eligible for assistance in any of the States 102 counties. In addition to downloadable collateral pieces, the toolkit also provided downloadable social media posts, making getting the word out as easy as sharing an already-created graphic.

vera social IDHS marketing

Website served as an easy-to-navigate site that included a 4-step eligibility check for renters and landlords to determine which of the two rental assistance programs best fit their needs. Resources for utility assistance, legal aid, and accessing IDHS’ provider directory made this site a one-stop shop for applying for multiple services under the rental assistance program umbrella.

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We supported the creation of print and digital materials for partner organizations to distribute.


“Address our concerns, be honest, hire [outreach] people from the hood who can code-switch.”

Chicago Renter

“I’m big on branding, I notice things that make me on edge… like if a flyer that isn’t cohesive with the website.”

Landlord in Illinois

“Illinois residents in underserved areas are afraid. They don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. As soon as they see [“formal lingo” describing the moratorium], they disengage. They feel rejected immediately.” 

Outreach Team Member

Collaboration Over Competition

We partnered with the GRLZ WKND team to transform a vision into a movement. On International Women’s Day, a showcase of all-female music artists with Chicago ties took the stage at Avondale Music Hall to a packed house.

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