Starting on Monday, tenants and landlords across Alabama will be able to get financial help those whose income was negatively impacted by the pandemic.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is being funded exclusively through a federal grant under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
Eligibility requirements for ERA assistance:
- Have a valid rental agreement in their name
- Household's total gross income cannot exceed 80% Area Median income for location
- The household has experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19, for example:
- Being laid off
- Place of employment has closed
- Reduction in hours of work
- Loss of spousal/child support
- Inability to find work due to COVID-19
- Having to stay home with children due to closure of day care/school
- Unable to participate in previous employment due to the workplace’s high risk of severe illness from COVID-19
The Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) is using the funds to create a program designed to process the online applications from landlords and tenants.
The Act also funds separate rental assistance programs that serve residents in Baldwin, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties along with the cities of Birmingham and Huntsville.
Anyone who lives in those aforementioned jurisdictions should first apply to those local programs before going through the statewide system.
In order to be eligible for funds through the ERA, tenants have to meet a specific set of criteria.
The money can be used to help renters with the following costs, going as far back as March 13, 2020:
- Past due, current and up to three months of expected rent costs
- Past due, current or up to three months of expected utility and home energy expenses
- After the initial three months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available
Those applying need to have proof of income and a valid lease or other written documentation of a landlord-tenant relationship.
For more information on the program, click here. The website will active at 8 a.m. on March 1, 2021, along with the hotline of 1-833-620-2434.