Huntsville restarts COVID-19 emergency rental assistance
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The city of Huntsville has announced that it has reopened its emergency rental and utility assistance to qualified tenants financially impacted by the pandemic.
Phase two of Huntsville’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program launched Monday. Funds are available to help tenants pay current, past-due and up to three months of future rent, utility and home energy costs, according to the city. This was unanimously approved by the city council in mid-November.
The city says the goal of the program is to prevent housing instability, avoid evictions and offer financial relief to at-risk tenants and landlords.
Community Development Manager Scott Erwin leads the department that administers the funds. He said that he is excited to offer up to $4.7 million in emergency assistance to those in need.
“We’re thrilled to be able to open round two of the ERAP just before Christmas,” Erwin said. “We know many citizens are still struggling to get back on their feet and encourage those who are behind on or unable to make payments to apply to the program.”
Who qualifies for this program?
Program guidelines for round two have changed, according to the city. To qualify, households must have an income at or below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). One or more household members must also have qualified for unemployment benefits or can attest in writing they had a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced financial hardships due to COVID-19.
Households additionally must demonstrate they are at risk of homelessness, housing instability or live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions to qualify. The program is only open to those whose rental property is their primary residence in Huntsville.
Designated community partners will review and commit funds to applicants who meet one of the priority groups below:
- Have incomes below 50% AMI
- Households, where one or more household members are unemployed as of the date applied 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
- The applicant is in the eviction process
How to apply
If you would like to apply you can follow this link to the city’s website. Those without internet access may dial 2-1-1 to speak with a trained operator. Both tenants and landlords may apply, but the same documentation proving COVID-19-related hardship suffered by the tenant will be required. Unpaid rent or utility bills cannot precede March 13, 2020.
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