Starting Monday, people across the state will get the chance to apply for an Emergency Rental Assistance program.
The program's goal is to provide relief for people who've struggled to pay their rent or utility bills due to the pandemic.
More than 4,000 tenants and about 800 landlords put in their applications just within the first four hours of it opening, and the organization administrating the program said they're expecting thousands more to apply.
"$263 million in funding to help as many qualified and eligible tenants on a statewide basis," David Young, the multi-family administrator from the Alabama Housing Finance Authority, said.
The Alabama Hosing Finance Authority is the organization running the Emergency Rental Assistance program. Young said the good thing about the program is people can request funds to pay off rental or utility debt from over the last year.
"The program will allow for rental costs and utility costs back to March of 2020, specifically March 13 of 2020, they can go back and pull all past-due rent and utility expenses and submit that with their application and be paid for those amounts," Young said.
Not only is back rent paid for, but people admitted into the program will have the chance to get the next three months of their rent paid as well.
Applying for the program is all done online or over the phone. There's also a list of requirements tenants have to have. Young says specifically, people who have sustained unemployment or are making less than 50% of the area's median income will be prioritized.
There is also other criteria that can qualify you, such as if the pandemic caused you to be laid off, have your place of employment close, lose a spouse or have to stay at home with your children because of a school or daycare closure.
Young says once you apply and have been approved, they want the turnaround time for when those expenses to get paid to be less than two weeks.
"It is our attempt to get payments made within a reasonable time upon application approval," he said.
The maximum amount of time each person can stay in the program is 15 months. In Madison County, they will have their own emergency rental assistance funds to give to residents. That program opens up later this month.