COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance

 

Covid-19 emergency relief graphic

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), funded by the U.S. Treasury, makes $25 billion available to state and local governments to assist households suffering from financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Huntsville received more than $6 million to distribute to those who qualify. Funds will be used to offer direct financial assistance on behalf of the tenant to landlords and utility companies to cover past-due payments of rent and utility/home energy costs. The goal is to prevent housing instability, potential eviction, and offer financial relief to qualifying tenants and landlords.


READ MORE: City of Huntsville announces changes to Emergency Rental Assistance Program


APPLICATIONS

Applications can be submitted by a tenant or a landlord, but the same documentation proving COVID-19-related hardship suffered by the tenant will be required. Any unpaid rent or utility bills you apply for cannot precede March 13, 2020.

The application period for the first round of the ERAP is now closed. A second round of funding has been approved and the application portal is scheduled to reopen Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, at 8 a.m.  Please note if you have previously received ERAP financial assistance you will not be eligible under the new guidelines.


DO YOU QUALIFY?

  • Households must have income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Madison County’s AMI can be found here.
  • One or more of the tenant household members have:
    • Qualified for unemployment benefits; or
    • Attest in writing that due to or during the pandemic, they:
      • Experienced a reduction in household income;
      • Incurred significant costs; or
      • Experienced financial hardship
    • Households must also demonstrate they:
      • Are at risk of homelessness or housing instability by providing an eviction notice or past-due utility or rent notice; or
      • Live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions
  • The unit you are renting must be your primary residence and be located within the city limits of Huntsville.

TENANT APPLICATION

As part of the program application, all tenants and household members must submit the following documentation so eligibility can be confirmed:

  • Government or current public school-issued ID for at least one household member on the lease
  • Copy of rent or lease agreement (or rent receipt)
  • Notice(s) of late rent payment or notice to evict, if applicable
  • Copies of past-due utility bills, if utility assistance is being requested
  • Income documentation for all household members above the age of 18 (or head and/or co-head of household if all members are under 18) must be provided from one of the two options below:
    • If you have completed your household’s federal income taxes for 2020, you will need to provide one of the following:
      • Filed 2020 IRS Form 1040
      • Filed 2020 IRS Form 1040-SR
    • If you have not yet completed your federal income taxes for 2020 or you are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2020, you will need to provide all of the applicable income documentation under one of these two categories:

Acceptable annual income documentation:

  • 2020 IRS form W2
  • Current Social Security benefits letter or 2020 Form 1099-SA (including benefits paid to minors)
  • 2020 form 1099-R
  • 2020 IRS form 1099-MISC for contractor income

Other acceptable income documentation:

  • Check stubs from your employer for the previous 30 days
  • Current unemployment benefits letter including gross benefit amount
  • Current letter from your employer verifying gross wages (pay rate, hours/week, pay date)
  • Current pension/retirement benefit letter (if applicable)
  • Current annuity payment letter
  • Current interest statement 1099- INT
  • Current dividend statement 1099- DIV
  • Certification of income form (for self-employed or cash income

LANDLORD APPLICATION

For landlords applying for unpaid rent on behalf of tenants:

  • All payments must be used to satisfy the tenant’s rental obligations
  • The tenant must sign the application and provide appropriate documentation

What can I do before March 15 to get ready?

  • Identify which units and households you think qualify
  • Reach out to your tenants with language barriers or tenants with disabilities to make them aware of the program
  • Confirm that households you have identified meet the eligibility criteria and ask that they gather documentation for the household and have it scanned and ready

PAYMENTS

All payments will be made directly to the landlord and/or utility provider.

Both landlords and tenants can use this website to create an account and submit their application.


PRIORITIZATION

Prioritization will be given to applications that meet one of the three criteria below:

  • Have incomes at or below 50% Area Median Income or
  • Households where one or more household members are unemployed as of the date you apply for assistance and one or more household members (this can be the same household member) were unemployed for 90 days prior to the date you apply for assistance
  • Applicant is in the eviction process

LEGAL DISCLAIMERS

  • Falsification of documents or any material falsehoods or omissions in an application to this program, including knowingly seeking duplicative benefits, is subject to state and federal criminal penalties. Landlords and tenants are particularly put on notice that 18 U.S.C. §1001 provides, among other things, that whoever 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 for not more than five years, or both
  • This program has specific eligibility requirements and not all households may be eligible
  • Funds may not still be available by the time a household applies
  • Other program limitations may also apply

MORE INFORMATION

Download a one-page flyer with information about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) in English or Spanish:

English ERAP flyer

Spanish ERAP flyer


QUESTIONS?

Email us at covidhelp@HuntsvilleAL.gov or brandi.ellis@HuntsvilleAL.gov

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Huntsville-area Covid-19 Response And Information

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  • Data Dashboard
  • Federal Relief Assistance
  • Safer at Home Orders
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