Huntsville – Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) of the United States Treasury offers $25 billion to state and local governments to assist households who are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic.

More than $6 million has been donated to the city of Huntsville for the purpose of disbursing funds to those who qualify. It is planned to use the funds to provide direct financial assistance to landlords and utility companies on the tenants’ behalf in order to cover past-due rent and utility/home energy expenses. Preventing housing insecurity and eviction is the goal, and providing financial help to qualified renters and landlords is the means to accomplish this.

APPLICATIONS

Applications can be submitted by either a tenant or a landlord; however, in both situations, the same proof establishing the tenant’s COVID-19-related hardship will be requested. You cannot submit a claim for past-due rent or utility bills that are older than March 13, 2020.

Please note that if you have previously received ERAP financial support, you will no longer be eligible under the current guidelines.

To apply, go to this link.

DO YOU MEET THE REQUIREMENTS?

  • Households must earn less than or equal to 50% of the Area Median Income in order to qualify (AMI). The AMI for Huntsville can be accessed at this location.
  • One or more members of the renter’s household has one or more of the following conditions:
    • Whether or not you are qualified for unemployment compensation;
    • Declare in writing that they have suffered from or are suffering from the following as a result of the epidemic:
      • Have seen a reduction in household income;
      • a significant amount of money was spent; or
      • Have you ever found yourself in a tight financial situation?
    • In addition, households must be able to demonstrate that they:
      • If you know someone who is at danger of homelessness or housing instability, you can serve them with an eviction notice or a notice of past-due utility or rent payments.
      • You are living in a hazardous or unhealthy situation.
  • The apartment you are renting must be your primary residence and must be located within the city limits of Huntsville.

TENANT APPLICATION

To establish their eligibility for the program, all tenants and household members must submit the following documentation with their application:

  • A lease must include at least one household member who has a government-issued or current public school identification.
  • Confirm that you have a copy of the rental or lease agreement.
  • Where applicable, notice(s) of non-payment of rent or eviction
  • Copies of past-due utility bills, if payment assistance is required.
  • Income documentation for all household members over the age of 18 (or for the head and/or co-head of household if all members are under the age of 18) must be filed using one of the two options below:
    • In order to be eligible to submit your household’s federal income taxes for the year 2021, you must provide one of the following information:
      • Filed 2021 IRS Form 1040
      • Filed 2021 IRS Form 1040-SR
    • When filing your federal income taxes for 2020 and you have not yet completed your federal income taxes for 2020 or are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2020, you must present all applicable income evidence under one of the two categories listed below:

Annual income documentation that is acceptable includes the following:

  • IRS Form W2 for 2021
  • Letter from the current year’s Social Security benefits or Form 1099-SA from the following year (including benefits paid to minors)
  • The Form 1099-R will be available for usage in 2021.
  • In 2021, the IRS will begin accepting Form 1099-MISC, which is used to report contractor income to the IRS.

Additional acceptable income documentation includes the following:

  • Pay stubs from your company for the previous 30 days are required.
  • A letter certifying receipt of current unemployment benefits and showing the total amount of the benefits received is enclosed.
  • A recent letter from your company attesting to the amount of your gross earnings is required (pay rate, hours worked per week, and pay date).
  • Benefits confirmation letter confirming existing pension/retirement benefits (if applicable)
  • Current annuity payments are confirmed by letter.
  • Interest rates at the time of writing 1099-INT
  • For the current fiscal year, 1099-DIV is the dividend statement.
  • Certification of income in the form of a letter (for self-employed or cash income)

APPLICATION FOR LANDLORD

For landlords attempting to collect past-due rent on behalf of tenants:

  • The tenant’s rental obligations must be met in full, including all rent payments.
  • The tenant is responsible for signing the application and submitting all of the necessary paperwork.

What can I do to prepare?

  • Calculate how many units and households you feel are eligible for the program.
  • Reach out to your tenants if they have a language barrier or if they have a disability in order to inform them of the program’s availability.
  • Examine whether or not the families you’ve identified meet the eligibility requirements, and ask them to gather any necessary documentation and have it scanned and ready to submit.

PAYMENTS

You will be responsible for paying your landlord and/or utility companies directly for whatever you purchase.

Both landlords and tenants can create an account on this website and submit an application for a rental unit.

PRIORITIZATION

Application submissions that match one of the three criteria listed below will be given top priority consideration: 1.

  • Have salaries that are less than 50% of the Area Median Income, or both.
  • One or more household members (this can be the same household member) were unemployed for a period of 90 days immediately preceding the date of your application for assistance, and one or more household members (this can be the same household member) were unemployed for a period of 90 days immediately preceding the date of your application.
  • The applicant is currently facing eviction from his or her home.

DISCLAIMER OF PERSONAL AND LEGAL RIGHTS

  • If you falsify documents or make other significant false statements or omissions in your application to this program, you may be subject to state and federal criminal penalties, including willfully requesting duplicate benefits. Owners of rental properties and tenants should be aware that under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 1001, anyone who knowingly and willingly makes or uses a document or writing containing any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States will be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States will be fined not more than
  • There are specific requirements to be eligible for this program, and not all homes will be eligible for participation.
  • It is possible that funding will not be available by the time a family submits their application.
  • Other program limits may also be in effect.

QUESTIONS?

Following submission, applications will be assigned to a local organization for review and consideration. If you have any questions, please contact the selected organization using the email address provided after submitting your application.

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