Alabama renters who are financially struggling are in jeopardy of being evicted, as the federal eviction moratorium will expire this weekend.
Many people are turning to the state and county for relief through renter’s assistance programs, but not everyone has received funds yet.
The Alabama Housing Finance Authority said 50,000 entries were received for the Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama program by the end of March. So far, approximately 770 people will have money by July 31 – when the moratorium expires.
The assistance provided totals to around $5.75 million. The AHFA said more applications are still pending.
Locally, the Montgomery County Commission received $6.8 million to aid renters. So far, $828,000 has been approved for payment to the public.
The commission said these dollars can be used for rent dating back to March 13, 2020. The money can also be used for utilities including electricity, gas, water, sewer, internet and trash collection also dating back to March 13, 2020.
Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, an organization that strives to end homelessness in the River Region, has partnered with the Montgomery County Commission to get the public registered for the funding.
Executive director Lydia Pickett said she has seen a spike in the homeless population since the pandemic started.
“The need is monumental – It really is,” she said. “With the moratorium ending, we don’t know what kind of flood gates that might open, but we’re going to have to be prepared to assist as much as we can.”
The group is working with residents, proofing applications to ensure they are complete and correct in order to qualify for the financial help.
“It just gives them some stability in their house, and so that the threat of becoming homeless or being at risk of homelessness is no longer looming over them,” Pickett said.
In addition to renters, the emergency relief is available to landlords whose tenants are behind.
“Hopefully this can be a source of relief,” she said.
To apply for help through the Montgomery County Commission, visit mc-ala.org and select “rental assistance.” Residents can also apply by calling 1-833-823-0007. For additional support completing your application, the public can call 334-261-6186.
To apply for help through the Alabama Housing Finance Authority, visit eraalabama.com. Staff are available at 833-620-2434 to answer questions and help with applications.
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