Emergency rental assistance program available in Alabama

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FILE - In this July 29, 2020 file photo, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks during a news conference in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)

This month, Alabama residents struggling to pay their rent because of the pandemic can get help to do so.

Gov. Kay Ivey last week authorized the Alabama Housing Finance Authority to implement the state’s new COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.

The AHFA on Monday began accepting applications from landlords and tenants for the program, WBRC-TV reported.

Questions should be presented to the ERA Alabama program customer service center at 833-620-2434. The ERA Alabama website, www.ahfa.com/era, also can provide information.

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. Renters in those jurisdictions should apply to those local programs first.

Tenants seeking assistance through ERA must meet all of the following criteria:

— 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; loss of spousal/child support; inability to find work due to COVID-19; having to stay home with children due to closure of daycare/school; unable to participate in previous employment due to the workplace’s high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Applicants must reapply every three months and will only be assisted if funds are still available.