Alabama Rental Assistance: A Lifeline for Low to Mid-Income Households

Alabama – Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

Areas Covered

Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, Birmingham, and Huntsville City

The Individual and Households Program (HP) provides financial assistance or direct services to individuals and households who have essential expenses and significant needs and are unable to meet these needs through other means. Up to $33,300 is available in financial aid.

The Birmingham Emergency Rental Assistance Program

The City of Birmingham offers an Emergency Rental Assistance Program for residents who are facing challenges in paying their rent or utilities due to COVID-19. This program is also open to landlords. For further details or to begin the online application process, please visit the provided website.

For assistance with an online application, please call 205-778-2091. Any questions can be emailed to rentalassistance@specialkindofcaring.org. This applies only to first-time applicants.

Residents should be aware that several documents are necessary to complete the application process online. The application will not be considered complete until all required information has been provided.

Please see the list below of the documents that are required online and in person.

Renters must provide the following:

  • Signed lease
  • Driver’s license or another photo ID
  • Proof of Income (2021 taxes, paystub, unemployment award letter or bank statement.)
  • Past due utility bill (Power, gas, water)
  • Rent statement or ledger
  • Eviction notice
  • Valid email address
  • Documents showing the household has experienced direct or indirect negative economic impact due to COVID-19 or any other financial hardship
  • Landlord’s W-9, address of the property for a rental apartment, and contact information
  • Landlords should provide their:
  • W-9
  • Property address for rental apartment
  • Contact information

Please note: This program is ONLY for renters who live within the city limits of Birmingham.

Eligibility

Please note that income is just one factor that determines eligibility for this program. Additional qualifications and income levels can be found in the “Do I Qualify?” section, located further down on this page. An FAQ about the program is also provided.

Both landlords and tenants have the option to utilize the online portal to establish an account and submit their ERA application. The online portal is scheduled to close on May 1, 2023.

Upon initial visit to the online portal, the applicant will be required to:

  • To access the online application, the applicant must first click the “Register” button on the link to create a profile.
  • During the registration process, the applicant is required to provide their email address and establish a password.
  • When creating a password, the password must have a minimum of eight characters, which should include at least one capital letter, one number, and one symbol.
  • Applicants must complete the registration process before they can access the portal and begin the application process.
  • Applicants can click the “Sign in” button on the portal and continue.
  • Please make sure to remember or write down your case identification number.

If applicants do not have access to the Internet and cannot complete an online application, the applicant will be referred to a case worker who can help them. For additional questions on the program, please send emails to rentalassistance@specialkindofcaring.org or call 1-205-778-2091.

The Birmingham Emergency Rental Assistance Program can help renters with the following costs that go back as far 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

Homeowners with past-due mortgages are NOT eligible for this program

This program is NOT available for Birmingham homeowners who live in a home with a past due mortgage or delinquent utility expenses connected to the pandemic.

When applying for the Alabama Emergency Rental Assistance Program, participants seeking rental help are required to upload several, critical documents to the online portal, including their:

  • Signed lease
  • Driver’s license or another government-issued photo ID
  • An eviction notice or a letter from landlord saying they are behind in rent
  • Proof of income for each adult household member (tax documents, paystubs, unemployment award letter, savings and checking account statements, child support income documentation, if applicable) OR a determination letter from a government agency verifying a household member is at or below 80% of the area median income.

If the applicant has completed his or her household’s federal income taxes for 2021, they or will need to provide one of the following:

  • Filed 2021 IRS Form 1040
  • Filed 2021 IRS Form 1040-SR

If the applicant has not yet completed his or her federal income taxes for 2021 OR they are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2021, the applicant will need to provide all of the applicable income documentation under one of these two categories:

Acceptable annual income documentation:

  • 2021 IRS Form W2
  • Current Social Security benefits letter or 2020 Form 1099-SA (including benefits paid to minors)
  • 2021 Form 1099-R
  • 2021 IRS Form 1099-MISC for contractor income

Other acceptable income documentation:

  • Check stubs from the applicant’s employer for the previous 30 days
  • Current unemployment benefits letter including gross benefit amount
  • Current signed letter from applicant’s employer (on company letterhead) verifying gross wages (pay rate, hours/week, pay date)
  • Current pension/retirement benefit letter (if applicable)
  • Current annuity payment letter
  • Current interest statement 1099- INT
  • Current dividend statement 1099- DIV
  • Certification of income form signed (for self-employed or cash income)
  • Zero income form signed
  • Some forms are needed for the application process. Not all forms are listed and not all may apply.
  • Participants seeking help with utility bills must upload:
  • A utility bill or bills showing a disconnected status

LANDLORDS: Is one or more of your tenants behind on their rent payments?

TENANTS: Are you unable to make your rent or electricity bill payments?

The state of Alabama and Jefferson County in particular is ready to assist you. COVID-19 has impacted residents from around the state, including the capital city of Sacramento. We provide emergency assistance to tenants in Alabama who are having difficulty meeting their rent and utility payments (including past due rent and utilities). It was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which provides $25 billion for pandemic-response emergency rental assistance across the country. The program is administered by the Treasury Department of the United States.

Except for Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, Birmingham City, and Huntsville City, ERA Alabama assists all counties and jurisdictions in Alabama, except for Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, Birmingham City, and Huntsville City. For information on how to obtain emergency rental assistance in those areas, please see our FAQs section.

Applying for Jefferson County Rental Assistance Programs

Except for Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, Birmingham City, and Huntsville City, ERA Alabama assists all counties and jurisdictions in Alabama, except for Baldwin County, Jefferson County, Madison County, Mobile County, Montgomery County, Tuscaloosa County, Birmingham City, and Huntsville City. For information on how to obtain emergency rental assistance in those areas, please see our rental assistance programs section.

Fill out an online application or call (833) 620-2434 (toll-free) to speak with a program representative about applying over the phone. You may also apply in person. Support is available in many different languages through the toll-free number in Jefferson County and the State of Alabama.

Claiming benefits

Tenants have the right to file a claim for overdue or future emergency rental assistance immediately. This helps them access available rental assistance programs. After confirming that your landlord is willing to participate, you can either apply directly and your landlord will be contacted for additional information, or you can cooperate with your Landlord to have them apply on your behalf using the LANDLORD application.

While it is unlikely that your landlord will agree to participate in the Program, you as the Tenant may still be eligible for rental and utility assistance. To apply, complete the online application or call the toll-free number listed above.

When a Jefferson County renter does not have an email address, the Landlord can print the application form, obtain a physical signature, and transmit or upload the application and associated income documents on the renter’s behalf if the tenant does not have an email address. If the Program does not collect a tenant’s information or documentation, a representative will contact them to assist them in obtaining the necessary information and documentation to complete the Tenant Profile.

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