Tuscaloosa County – Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)

TCERAP, or the Tuscaloosa County Emergency Rental Assistance Program, is available to assist you with your housing needs.
COVID-19 has had an influence on residents all around the state of California. Residents of Tuscaloosa County who are having difficulty making their rent or utility payments can apply for emergency funds (including past due rent and utilities).

To register for a free instructional webinar, go to THIS LINK.

Preventing an Imminent Eviction

Rental assistance cases are expedited by TCERAP in collaboration with Legal Services Alabama (LSA) lawyers for renter households who have completed an online rental assistance application with Tuscaloosa County ERAP, who have received an official eviction notice or a court case filing, and who are eligible to remain in their current residences based on the landlord’s separate ERA Alabama application and agreement, among other things. You can reach the Legal Services of Alabama hotline at (866) 456-4995, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or you can apply online at legalservicesalabama.org.

Lower Income Legal Services aids low-income individuals by providing civil legal assistance and supporting collaborative efforts to resolve poverty-related concerns.

Who may apply for the TCERAP?

Landlords who have tenants who are past due on their rent and meet the program’s eligibility standards.
Tenants who are in arrears on their rent and meet the program’s eligibility standards.
This program is open to all residential rental units in Tuscaloosa County.

What is the procedure for making a request for an interview?

Landlord Application Process:

The Tuscaloosa County ERAP provides landlords with tenants who are unable to make their monthly residential rent payments the opportunity to apply for relief. The Tenant’s rental obligations must be honored in full, with all payments made on time. Note that the Tenant is required to sign the Landlord’s application in order for the lease to be valid. According to the program, the following expenses are covered:

  1. Rent that is past due, current, and up to three months’ worth of rent are all possibilities available to tenants.
  2. Utility and home energy bills that are past due, current, and up to three months old are all eligible for collection.
  3. In the event that funds are still available after the initial three months of forwarding support, you may seek a further three months of help.

Some things you can do to make yourself ready for the application are as follows:

Calculate how many units and households you feel are eligible for the program. Make contact with your Tenants who have language difficulties or disabilities in order to inform them of the project. Once you have confirmed that the households you’ve chosen meet the qualifying standards given below, collect all of the required documentation and have it scanned and prepared. Take a photo of the tenant’s signature and have it scanned and ready to submit with the application.

Tenant Application Process:

Direct applications are available for tenants who owe rent or utility bills that are past due or are due in the near future. If your landlord refuses to participate in Tuscaloosa County ERAP, you can still submit an application on your own. Tuscaloosa County ERAP is required to contact the Landlord to confirm their unwillingness to participate in order to be able to provide direct payments to the tenants in question. The payment will be sent to the Tenant, if they are qualified, following an outreach period during which Tuscaloosa County ERAP has not heard from the Landlord or has received confirmation that the Landlord has declined to participate in the program. Beginning on March 13, 2020, eligible tenants will be able to receive assistance with the following expenses:

  1. Rent that is past due, current, and up to three months’ worth of rent are all possibilities available to tenants.
  2. Expired utility and residential energy bills that are more than three months old, are current or are up to date.
  3. In the event that funds are still available after the initial three months of forwarding support, you may seek a further three months of help.

Some things you can do to make yourself ready for the application are as follows:

Check out the “Do I meet the requirements?” section below to see whether your household qualifies. Gather all of the paperwork that is required. Make an effort to spread the word about the project to your neighbors. It is essential that your landlord be informed of your plans because they will be required to sign the rental application.

Do I meet the requirements?

Households must have a combined income of less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI); AND one or more members of the household must attest in writing that they have: Qualified for unemployment benefits; OR that they have experienced a reduction in income; or that they have incurred significant costs; or that they have experienced financial hardship as a result of or during the pandemic; AND that they have qualified for unemployment benefits In order to be considered, one or more members of the family must show that they are at risk of homelessness or housing instability by providing an eviction notice or a notice of past due utilities or rent, or that they live in hazardous or unhealthy housing circumstances. To qualify for a rental permit, the rental housing must be your principal residence and must be situated within Tuscaloosa County. If you file a claim for past-due rent or energy bills, you can only go back to March 13, 2020.

Are certain applicants given priority consideration?

Applicants who submit the following applications will be given first consideration: Housing units for households with a combined income that is less than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). households with one or more unemployed members on the application date AND one or more household members (this may be the same household member) who were unemployed for at least 90 days prior to the application date are eligible to apply

When will I be compensated if I meet the requirements?

Payments will be made through the use of ACH deposits. All payments will be made directly to the Landlord and/or utility service provider. In order to complete the payments, the Landlord will be required to provide bank routing information as part of the application procedure. The Tuscaloosa County ERAP is required to make an attempt to contact your Landlord to confirm their refusal to enroll if your Landlord declines to enroll. It is possible that the payment will be paid to the Tenant if they are qualified after a verification period, as required by Treasury, during which Tuscaloosa County ERAP has not received any communication from the Landlord or has evidence that the Landlord has refused to participate.

DISCLAIMER OF LEGAL CONSEQUENCES: Forgery of documents, as well as any significant falsehoods or omissions in an application to this program, including purposefully seeking duplicate benefits, are punishable under state and federal law. Landlords and tenants should be aware that under 18 U.S.C. 1001, anyone who knowingly and willingly creates 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 faces a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both. This program is subject to certain eligibility requirements, and not all properties will qualify. Notably, financing may not be available at the time a household applies.

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