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Got City Debt? New Programs Offer Chicagoans Relief, A Way To Pay It Off

The city has launched a pilot program that will provide some relief to people who face debt from administrative hearing violations.

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CHICAGO — Chicagoans who’ve racked up debt from a variety of city offenses could find relief though new programs.

The city has launched a pilot program to provide some relief to people who face debt from administrative hearing violations, which can cover anything from littering to playing the radio too loudly. The debts “disproportionately impact low-income communities,” according to a city news release.

The Department of Finance will issue “standard relief” to people and businesses without them having to submit an application, according to the city. It gives people in debt the option to pay the remainder in full or enroll in a payment plan with interest and other fees waived, according to the city.

Standard relief runs through March 31.

A second phase, called “hardship relief,” will ask people in debt to file an application online. To be eligible, Chicagoans must be enrolled in other programs — Utility Billing Relief or Clear Path Relief — or have a household income less than or equal to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the news release.

People who are approved can pay half of their original fine up front or enroll in a payment plan with interest and other fees waived, according to the city.

Hardship relief runs April 1-Dec. 31.

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