Jefferson County, Alabama

ERAP LandLord FAQ

 

    1.  What is the purpose of the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)?
    2.  When does the program begin, and what is my deadline to apply?
    3.  Who is eligible to receive assistance from the program?
    4.  Will some applications be given priority?
    5.  What financial assistance is provided under the program?
    6.  How do I apply for rental assistance under the program?
    7.  What if my status is ineligible and I have received an email indicating my application has been closed?
    8.  Are past due rent and utility bills from 2020 eligible for assistance?
    9.  What is the funding source for the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program?
    10.  How will payments be made?
    11.  If my tenant received rental assistance from this program to cover past due rent, can they also apply for additional assistance?
    12.  Are tenants of federally subsidized housing, e.g., Low Income Housing Credit, Public Housing, or Indian Housing Block Grant-assisted properties, eligible for the Program?
    13.  What forms of documentation can be provided to meet the application requirements?
 
    Q.  What is the purpose of the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)?
    A.  The Program provides financial assistance to qualifying applicants to prevent housing instability, potential eviction, and financial hardships of tenants and landlords as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

    Q.  When does the program begin, and what is my deadline to apply?
    A.  The Program began accepting applications Monday, May 24, 2021, at 8 a.m. Central Time and will remain open until all available funds have been committed. The duration of the Program will depend on the number of eligible applicants.

    Q.  Who is eligible to receive assistance from the program?
    A. 
Renter households must have an income no more than 80 percent of area median income (AMI) AND one or more members of the household must attest in writing that they have either:
  • qualified for unemployment benefits due to the pandemic
  • due to or during the pandemic:
    • experienced a reduction in income
    • incurred significant costs
    • experienced other financial hardship
  • AND one or more individuals within the household must demonstrate they:
    • are at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, OR
    • live in unsafe or unhealthy housing conditions
  • Applicants must currently reside in the property for which they are requesting rental and utility assistance.


    Q.  Will some applications be given priority?
    A. 
The following applicants will be given priority:
  • Households whose income is at or below 50% Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Households where 1 or more individuals of the household is/are unemployed at the time of application and has/have not been employed for 90 days prior to the application date.
Only after those priority applicants are processed will the Program then proceed with the review of anyone over 50% AMI on a first-come first-served basis until all funds are committed.


    Q.  What financial assistance is provided under the program?
    A. 
Program funds may be used to provide up to fifteen (15) months of assistance for the following
expenses:
  • rent (future rent for up to three months*)
  • past due rent (Rental arrears can be covered for up to 12 months)
  • utilities - including water, sewer, trash, power, and home energy costs (costs for
  • telephone, cable, or satellite television are not eligible under this program)
  • Other expenses related to housing - including internet service provided to the rental unit, reasonable fees including application or screening fees, late fees, and court fees, and rental security deposits. Costs for telephone, cellphone, cable or satellite television are NOT eligible under the program.
*While applicants may be assisted for up to a total of 15 months, the Program will not commit funds for prospective (future) rent for more than a 3-month period at a time. For additional prospective assistance, applicants may reapply every 3 months and will only be assisted if funds are still available.


    Q.  How do I apply for rental assistance under the program?
    A. 
Complete an online application at erap.jccal.org for clients OR Call our partners to apply directly which includes the Birmingham Urban League (205-326-0162), Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham (205-328-4292), and Bridge Ministries (205-930-0309).


    Q.  What if my status is ineligible and I have received an email indicating my application has been closed?
    A.  Ineligible applicants will be provided an opportunity for an appeal of that decision.

    Q.  Are past due rent and utility bills from 2020 eligible for assistance?
    A.  Yes. Eligible households may receive up to 12 months of assistance, plus an additional 3 months, if determined the extra months are needed to ensure housing stability and grantee funds are available. The payment of existing housing-related arrears that could result in eviction of an eligible household is prioritized. Assistance must be provided to reduce an eligible household’s rental arrears before the household may receive assistance for future rent payments. Once a household’s rental arrears are reduced, grantees may only commit to providing future assistance for up to three months at a time. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period if needed and the overall time limit for assistance is not exceeded.

    Q.  What is the funding source for the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program?
    A.  The Emergency Rental Assistance bill was passed as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which provides $25 billion nationally for pandemic-response rental assistance. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As part of this relief package, Jefferson County has received approximately $13 million to assist landlords and tenants through the Program.

    Q.  How will payments be made?
    A.  Payments will be made using ACH or check.

    Q.  If my tenant received rental assistance from this program to cover past due rent, can they also apply for additional assistance?
    A.  If a tenant has already received assistance for a specific time period, the Program cannot provide duplicative assistance for that same time period. Tenants can apply for three months of future rent payments provided total past and future payments do not exceed the Program cap of 15 months, subject to the availability of funds.

    Q.  Are tenants of federally subsidized housing, e.g., Low Income Housing Credit, Public Housing, or Indian Housing Block Grant-assisted properties, eligible for the Program?
    A. 
An eligible household that occupies a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive Program assistance, provided that program funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.
If an eligible household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the renter household may receive program assistance for the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities that is not subsidized.
It is anticipated that the U.S. Department of Treasury may provide further guidance on this topic and when or if they do, Jefferson County will update these FAQs. These examples are not exhaustive but are the most common examples in the affordable housing industry.


    Q.  What forms of documentation can be provided to meet the application requirements?
    A. 

1. Identification documentation, may include:

  • ID such as a driver’s license
  • REAL ID
  • U.S. passport
  • permanent resident card
  • or other photo identification

2.  Documentation that supports the household income listed in the application (include one of the following):

  • 2020 Tax Filing (form 1040) for all adults in your household
  • 2020 W-2 Earnings Statements from all jobs for all adults
  • Notice of eligibility (dated January 1, 2020 or later) for public benefits based on income from programs such as SNAP, food stamps, Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Medicaid, Medicare, Daycare Assistance, Housing Voucher, Section 8 Housing Assistance, and Public Housing
  • Monthly paystubs for all adult household members for all jobs for the last 2 months
  • Bank statements showing all adult household members’ income and earnings
  • Other evidence of income for all adult household members
  • Self-certification of no income

3. Documentation showing you  have an obligation to pay rent at your address may include

  • signed lease agreement
  • documentation that shows a history of paying rent such as check copies or bank statements
  • a written attestation from the verified owner or management agent of the unit
  • evidence of paying utilities for the residential unit
  • or other reasonable documentation

4. Documentation showing the costs for which you will request assistance. Documentation must show the amount due for each month. For outstanding payments due, documentation must show the months that are outstanding and the amount due for each month for which there is an outstanding balance. Documents may include:

  • copies of utility bills for the rental unit in the household’s name
  • evidence of rent payments made to the landlord through copies of checks or receipts of rent paid
  • bank statements
  • eviction notice issued to the household or notice of Demand for Payment that lists amounts due by month including fees
  • written attestation by a landlord who can be verified as the legitimate owner or management agent of the unit with sufficient monthly detail
  • landlord ledger establishing past-due amount including dates of service for which there is an outstanding balance, or
  • other documentation that reasonably established a pattern of paying rent and amounts due

5. Documentation showing the household has experienced a direct or indirect negative economic impact due toCOVID-19 (such as a COVID-19 related job loss, reduced hours, reduced tips, loss of opportunities such as grants or scholarships due to the higher education institution closing, medical cost related to COVID-19, increased costs of distance learning or work from home, increased child-care, or medical expenses, etc.). Documentation must include at least one:

A. documentation that some in my household qualified for unemployment benefits (qualified due to a COVID-19 impact) that may include:

  • a notice of approval for unemployment benefits
  • evidence of unemployment payment
  • or other relevant documentation

B. Alternatively, you may included documentation that shows the household experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This may include:

    • notice from an employer of reduced hours
    • notice from an employer of termination
    • an attestation from an employer regarding a reduction in hours, pay or termination
    • paystubs demonstrating a reduction in pay
    • bank statements demonstrating reduced income
    • COIVD-19 related medical or funeral bills
    • an attestation from a caseworker familiar with your circumstances, or
    • other supporting documentation (including a self-attestation) that shows COVID-19 impact

6. Documentation showing my household is at risk of housing instability or homelessness, which may include:

  • a past due utility or past due rent notice
  • eviction notice
  • documentation of annual income below 30 percent of the median family income for the area
  • evidence of living in a hotel or motel not paid by a charitable or government program, or
  • documentation that you are exiting a publicly funded institution