MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- On Friday, Governor Kay Ivey authorized the Alabama Housing Finance Authority to implement the State’s new COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.
Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Alabama is funded entirely by a $263 million congressional grant under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the “Act”).
Issuing a declaration of public emergency, AHFA is presently developing a program for processing online applications statewide, by landlords and renters.
AHFA expects to accept applications from landlords and tenants for ERA Alabama beginning March 1 at 8 a.m. Central Time. Questions should be presented to the ERA Alabama program customer service center at (833) 620-2434. The ERA Alabama website, www.ahfa.com/era will be updated with new developments.
Separate from ERA Alabama, the Act also funds separate rental assistance programs serving residents of Baldwin, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Jefferson Counties, and the cities of Huntsville and Birmingham. Renter households in those jurisdictions should apply to those local programs first.
AHFA is developing specific information to assist applicants from those jurisdictions on where/how they should apply.
Anticipated Eligibility Requirements
In order to receive financial assistance through ERA, tenants must meet all of the following:
• Have a valid rental agreement in their name
• Household’s total gross income cannot exceed 80% Area Median Income for location
• The household has experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19, for example:
o Being laid off
o Place of employment has closed
o Reduction in hours of work
o Loss of spousal/child support
o Inability to find work due to COVID-19
o Having to stay home with children due to closure of day care/school
o Unable to participate in previous employment due to the workplace’s high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
• Proof of income (pay stubs, bank statements, letter from employer, award letters, pension)
• Valid lease or other written documentation of landlord-tenant relationship
Coverage of Rent and Utility Costs
ERA Alabama can help renters with the following costs starting as far back as March 13, 2020:
• Past due, current and up to 3 months of expected rent costs
• Past due, current or up to 3 months of expected utility and home energy expenses
• After the initial 3 months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available.
While applicants may be assisted for up to 15 months, ERA Alabama will not commit funds for prospective (future) rent for more than a 3-month period at a time. Applicants must reapply every 3 months and will only be assisted if funds are still available.