Alabama Emergency Rental Assistance Program
LANDLORDS: Are some of your tenants in arrears with their rent payments?
TENANTS: Are you unable to pay your rent or utility bills?
Rental Assistance in an Emergency Alabama is ready to assist you. COVID-19 has had an impact on residents all over the state. We have emergency funds available to assist Alabama renters in paying their rent and utility bills during times of financial hardship (including past due rent and utilities). As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, the Emergency Rental Assistance bill was passed, which allocates $25 billion in federal funds for pandemic-related housing assistance. The Program is administered by the Department of the Treasury of the United States.
With the exception of Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, and the City of Birmingham, the ERA Alabama provides assistance to all counties and jurisdictions in the state. For information on how to apply for emergency rental assistance programs in those areas, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Was the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA Alabama) program established to help people who are facing a housing crisis?
As a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Program provides financial assistance to qualified applicants in order to prevent housing instability, potential eviction, and financial hardships for tenants and landlords.
- ERA Alabama provides financial assistance to all counties and jurisdictions in the state of Alabama, or only some of them?
All counties and jurisdictions in Alabama are eligible for assistance from ERA Alabama, with the exceptions and clarifications listed below:
- Applications for Baldwin County began being accepted on April 1. In the event that you live in Baldwin County and submit your application before 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 1, ERA Alabama will process your application. After 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 1, you can access the Baldwin County ERA system by clicking on this link. (https://erap.baldwincountyal.gov) Call (251) 239-4360 for more information.
- On May 10, the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners began accepting applications. In the event that you reside in Jefferson County and submit your application before 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 10, ERA Alabama will process your application. Follow this link (https://erap.jccal.org) to gain access to the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program system, which will be available starting on Monday, May 24, 2020. As an alternative, applicants can seek assistance from one of the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance community partners listed below:
- The county of Mobile began accepting applications on March 1. The Mobile County ERA system can be reached at (855-209-4970) or by clicking on the following link: https://www.mobilecountyal.gov/rental-and-utility-assistance.
- Montgomery County began accepting applications on April 22 and will continue until all positions are filled. In the event that you live in Montgomery County and submit your application before 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 22, ERA Alabama will process your application. After 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 22, you can access the Montgomery County ERA system by clicking on this link. (https://www.mc-ala.org/services/emergency-rental-assistance-montgomery-county) Toll-free number: 1-833-823-0007
- Applicant applications for the City of Birmingham were accepted beginning on April 26. It is possible to have your application processed by ERA Alabama if you live in the City of Birmingham and submit your application before 10:00 AM on Monday, April 26. After 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 26, you can access the City of Birmingham’s ERA system by clicking on this link. The number to call is 1-844-287-1250. (https://www.birminghamal.gov/renthelp)
- On March 15, the City of Huntsville began accepting applications for its various programs. It is the responsibility of ERA Alabama to process your application if you live in the City of Huntsville and submit your application before 9:00 AM on Monday, March 15th. After 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 15th, you can access the city of Huntsville’s Emergency Response System by clicking on this link. (https://www.huntsvilleal.gov/covid-19-emergency-rental-assistance) Call (256) 427-5400 for more information.
- Madison County began accepting applications on June 1 and will continue to do so. In the event that you live in Madison County and submit your application before 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1, ERA Alabama will process your application. After 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 1, you can access the Madison County ERA system by clicking on this link. (https://www.madisoncountyal.gov/services/emergency-rental-assistance) Toll-free number: 1-844-804-9454
- Tuscaloosa County began accepting applications on July 12, according to the county website. If you live in Tuscaloosa County and submit your application before Monday, July 12, ERA Alabama will review and process your submission. After Tuesday, July 12, you can access the Tuscaloosa County ERA system by clicking on this link. (https://www.tuscco.com/erap) Call toll-free: 1-888-472-0027. Applicants can request assistance with technical issues by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The application will be submitted and processed through the Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama program if you live in an AHFA-funded project in one of the counties or jurisdictions that is not currently covered by Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama. If you are unsure whether or not a project is funded by the AHFA, please call the Call Center at 1-833-620-2434 for clarification.
When did the Program begin, and when do I have to submit my application?
Applicants must submit their applications by 8 a.m. Central Time on Monday, March 1, 2021. The Program will remain open until all available funds have been committed. The length of the Program will be determined by the number of qualified applicants who apply.
Who is eligible to receive assistance from the Program and under what conditions?
Renter households must have an income that is no more than 80% of the area median income (AMI), and one or more members of the household must certify in writing that they have either of the following qualifications:
Qualified for unemployment benefits as a result of or during the pandemic suffered a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, and/or experienced other financial difficulties
AND one or more members of the household must demonstrate that they are either: at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, as evidenced by a past due utility or rent notice or an eviction notice; or that they are living in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions, as determined by a housing assessment.
|In order to qualify for ERA Alabama assistance, the unit must be or have been the applicant’s primary residence during the months for which assistance is being requested at the time of application submission.
Will some applications be given higher priority than others?
The prioritization period ended on July 15, 2021, and no new applications will be accepted. As soon as all priority applications have been processed, ERA Alabama will move on to processing all remaining applications. Under the conditions of funding availability, all applications that are deemed complete submissions will be reviewed and processed on a first-come-first-served basis.
What types of financial assistance are available through the Program?
Funds from the program may be used to cover the following expenses for a period of up to fifteen (15) months, if necessary:
Past due rent: rent arrears may be eligible for reimbursement beginning on March 13, 2020.
Rent: up to three months’ rent in the future* Utilities: water, sewer, trash, electricity, internet, and home energy are all included (separately stated expenses related to occupancy of a dwelling such as propane or fuel oil) costs
Costs associated with telephone, cable, or satellite television are not covered by this program.
The Program will not commit funds for prospective (future) rent for more than a three-month period at a time, even though applicants may be assisted for up to 15 months under certain conditions. Applicants must reapply every three months, and they will only be assisted if funds are still available at the time of their application.
How do I submit an application for rental assistance through the Program?
Fill out an online application OR call (833) 620-2434 (toll free) to speak with a program representative about applying over the telephone. Using the toll-free number, you will have access to assistance in a variety of languages.
Through the application process, the landlord can create a Landlord Profile, which includes a list of all of the properties under their management, as well as the names of each tenant for whom they are seeking help.
A few minutes after the landlord profile has been completed and submitted, the system will automatically send an email to each identified tenant, reminding them that they need to complete their Tenant Profile.
Alternatively, if a tenant does not have access to an email account, the landlord can print the application form, obtain a physical signature, and upload the application and any supporting documentation on the tenant’s behalf. If necessary, tenants will be contacted by a Program representative who will assist them in gathering the information and documents necessary to complete the Tenant Profile.
Is it necessary for me to submit a separate application for each and every eligible tenant?
Alternatively, the Landlord may provide all prospective tenants information in a single application, which may include the following information: lessee name and email address; phone number and address; lease dates; monthly rent; past due rent and late fees; and lease expiration date.
The Landlord will be required to upload a lease, rental ledger, and any other supporting information, taking care to name the documents clearly in order to align each tenant with the documents they require to be able to rent the property.
Following the completion of the application, an email invitation to participate in the program will be sent to all of the tenants on the list.
What is the best way to check the status of my application?
Following the submission of your application, you will be able to track the progress of your application through the online dashboard or by calling (833) 620-2434 (toll-free) to speak with a customer service representative about the status of your application. If we require additional information from you in order to complete your application, you will be notified.
ERA Alabama program personnel may contact you and/or your tenants to obtain additional information during the course of the application review process. You are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible to each request or task assigned to you in order to aid in the expediting of the review’s completion. Serving as a facilitator for each tenant will ensure that the review process is as efficient and successful as possible.
If my immigration status is ineligible and I have received an email stating that my application has been denied, what should I do next?
A request for a reconsideration form, which can be found on our Resources page, can be submitted by applicants who have received a denial of their application.
Does the government provide assistance for past-due rent and utility bills that date back to 2020?
Yes. The maximum amount of assistance a household can receive is up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months if ERA Alabama determines that the additional months are necessary to ensure housing stability and grantee funds are available to do so. Priority is given to the payment of existing housing-related arrears that could result in the eviction of a qualified family or household.
Prior to receiving assistance for future rent payments, assistance must be provided to eligible households in order to reduce their rental arrears. Grantees are only required to commit to providing future assistance for a maximum of three months at a time after a household’s rental arrears have been reduced. In the event that additional assistance is required after the three-month period has expired and the overall time limit for assistance has not been exceeded, households may reapply for assistance at that time.
What is the source of funding for the Alabama Rental Assistance Program for the Unemployed?
As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, the Emergency Rental Assistance bill was passed, which allocates $25 billion in federal funds for pandemic-related housing assistance. The program is administered by the Department of the Treasury of the United States. This relief package included approximately $263 million in funding for the Alabama Housing Finance Agency (AHFA), which will be used to administer the state entity program, Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama. Approximately $63 million in remaining funding was allocated directly to local jurisdictions with populations greater than 200,000 for administration in their own jurisdictions. These jurisdictions include Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, the City of Birmingham, and the City of Huntsville (all of which are in Alabama).
If I am submitting an application on behalf of my tenants, what documentation will I require to complete the process?
As part of the Program application, the landlord must submit the following documentation in order for us to determine whether or not they are eligible:
Completely carried out Agreement to rent or lease a property (or rent receipt, bank statements, written attestation that formalizes the relationship between the Landlord and the Tenant if no current agreement) ** Additional information can be found by reading Question 5 of the Emergency Rental Assistance FAQ from the United States Department of the Treasury.
Rental ledger displaying charges and payments from month to month, as well as the current balance due on the account
If any utility costs are included in the rent or are collected by the Landlord on behalf of the utility provider, this must be specified in the rent or lease agreement and reflected in the rental ledger on a month-to-month basis in the rental ledger.
If you are submitting your application on behalf of a condominium or other ownership entity, please include the following information: Representative Appointed by the President Eviction Notice(s), if any, and Household Certification Form are required as proof of completion and execution of IRS Form W-9 (if not being provided by the tenant)
Documentation of household income, as outlined above is required (if not being provided by the tenant)
What method will be used to collect payments?
Payments will be made through Bill.com, which will accept ACH deposits. Once a tenant’s application has been approved, the landlord will be contacted and asked to provide Bill.com with bank routing information in order to complete the payment process. Landlords are urged to be prepared to provide this information as soon as they receive an email from Bill.com requesting this information.
Is it possible for my tenant to apply for additional rental assistance if they have already received rental assistance from this program to cover past due rent?
For any time period during which a tenant has already received assistance, the Program will not provide additional assistance for that time period during which the tenant has already received assistance. If the total of past and future rent payments does not exceed the Program’s 15-month cap, tenants can apply for three months of future rent payments. This is subject to the availability of funds in the program.
Applicants for the Program must be tenants of federally subsidized housing, such as Low Income Housing Credit, public housing, or Indian Housing Block Grant-assisted properties. (Thursday, March 19, 2021)
In order to receive Program assistance, an eligible household must be the owner or occupier of a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property. Program funds may not be used to reimburse costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance program.
Generally, if a renter household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance), and the tenant rent is adjusted to account for changes in income, the renter household may be eligible for program assistance for the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities that are not subsidized by the federal government.
This topic is expected to receive additional guidance from the United States Department of Treasury, and when or if this occurs, AHFA will update these frequently asked questions. These are not all-inclusive examples, but they are the most frequently encountered ones in the affordable housing industry. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com.
Is it possible for me to request additional assistance after submitting my initial application if I require it?
An Additional Funds Request will be eligible for submission 30 days prior to the last day of the last month of assistance previously provided. Applicants will receive a Congratulations notification through the Neighborly system indicating eligibility to submit an Additional Funds Request if they meet the eligibility requirements.
Applicants may be eligible for additional rent and utility arrears, as well as up to three additional months of assistance in the future.
There may not be more than 15 months of combined assistance for the original and additional funds required.
Additional information can be found in our document entitled “How to Request Additional Funds.”