Huntsville, Madison County Emergency Rental Assistance programs lag behind statewide assistance

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Alabamians across the state began applying for the state’s new Emergency Rental Assistance program on March 1st. But for those living in Huntsville and Madison County, the process isn’t quite worked out.

Huntsville City and Madison County received their own federal funding and have separate programs, but the programs aren’t up and running yet.

However, Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama says if the local program in your area is not yet operating, ERA Alabama might accept your application. Their website says to call 833-620-2434 for details.

“Today there are people who have never struggled or had reason to worry before that are now and it’s quite a burden to carry. Right now they are having to carry it unnecessarily longer than they should,” says Huntsville property manager Linda Ross.

Property Manager Linda Ross says she’s trying to find her tenants answers as to how they can receive help.

“It’s my understanding that if you live in Huntsville or Madison County we are not part of the ERA Alabama that has been established. Our folks just have been unable to get their applications through. There’s no telling how many more don’t know what’s going on,” says Ross.

The City of Huntsville is hopeful its rent assistance application process will be open mid March.

“We are working as diligently as we can. We understand those urgent needs there,” says Community Development Director Scott Erwin.

Madison County Commissioners have called a special meeting next Wednesday, March 10, to discuss emergency rental assistance. But it’s unclear when their application process will open up.

News 19 is told that ERA Alabama is accepting applications for Huntsville and Madison County until they open their application portals, but Ross says her tenants have seen a hang up.

“They were able to get their application in. And were told that while they can apply now that all the applications right now will be on hold by the state if it comes from Huntsville or Madison County until the end of March,” says Ross.

In order to receive financial assistance, tenants need to meet all of the following requirements:

  • 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: being laid off, place of employment has closed, reduction in hours of work, having to stay home with children due to closure of daycare/school, etc.
  • Provide proof of income (pay stubs, bank statements, a letter from employer, pension)
  • Provide proof of valid lease or other written documentation of a landlord-tenant relationship

Those who apply may have assistance for up to 15 months, ERA Alabama won’t set aside future rent for more than a 3-month period of time. So, every 3 months people must reapply and they will be helped if funds are still available.

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.

Additional information can be found on the AHFA website and customer service representatives are available at 833-620-2434.

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