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Tuscaloosa County's Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Tuscaloosa County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (TCERAP) is here to help. COVID-19 has affected residents across the state. We have emergency funds available to help Tuscaloosa County residents pay rent and utility bills (including past due rent and utilities).

Here’s the link for the webinar: https://hornellp.wistia.com/medias/uflaevfu71

Who can apply for the TCERAP?

Landlords with tenants behind on rental payments who satisfy program criteria.
Tenants who are behind on their residential rental payments who satisfy program criteria. 
This program applies to all residential rental properties in Tuscaloosa County.

What is the application process?

Landlord Application Process:

Landlords with tenants who have been unable to pay monthly residential rent payments may apply for relief under Tuscaloosa County ERAP. All payments must go to satisfy the Tenant’s rental obligations. Please note, the Tenant must sign the Landlord’s application. The following costs are eligible under this program:

  1. Past due, current, and up to 3 months of expected rent costs.
  2. Past due, current, and up to 3 months of expected utility and home energy costs.
  3. After the initial 3 months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available.

Ways you can prepare to apply:

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 the households you have identified meet the eligibility criteria noted below, gather documentation for the household and have it scanned and ready. Seek the Tenant’s signature for the application and have it scanned and ready.

Tenant Application Process:

Tenants with unpaid or future rent or utility payments may apply directly. If your Landlord refuses to enroll in Tuscaloosa County ERAP, you can still apply directly. In order to provide direct payments, Tuscaloosa County ERAP is required to attempt to reach the Landlord to confirm their unwillingness to participate. After an outreach period in which Tuscaloosa County ERAP has not heard from the Landlord or have confirmation they have declined to participate, the payment will be made to the Tenant, if eligible. Eligible Tenants may receive assistance for the following costs, starting as far back as March 13, 2020:

  1. Past due, current, and up to 3 months of expected rent costs.
  2. Past due, current, or up to 3 months of expected utility and home energy expenses.
  3. After the initial 3 months of forward assistance, you can apply for 3 additional months of assistance if funds are still available.

Ways you can prepare to apply:

Look at the “Do I Qualify?” list below and see if your household qualifies. Gather the required documents. Reach out to your neighbors to let them know about the program. Let your landlord know you are planning to apply because they will need to sign the application.

Do I qualify?

Households must have a combined income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI); AND One or more members of the household must attest in writing they have: Qualified for unemployment benefits; OR Due to or during the pandemic, they: Experienced a reduction in income; OR Incurred significant costs; OR Experienced financial hardship; AND One or more members of the household must 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 must be located within Tuscaloosa County. Any unpaid rent or utility bills you apply for can go no further back than March 13, 2020.

Are certain applicants given priority consideration?

The following applications will be given priority: Households with combined incomes at or below 50% Area Median Income (AMI). Households where one or more household members are unemployed on the date of application, AND one or more household members (this can be the same household member) were unemployed for 90 days prior to the date of application.

If I qualify, when will I receive payment?

Payments will be made using ACH deposit. All payments will be made directly to the Landlord and/or utility provider. As part of the application process, the Landlord will be asked to provide bank routing information to complete the payments. If your Landlord refuses to enroll, Tuscaloosa County ERAP is required to attempt to reach the Landlord to confirm their unwillingness to participate. After a verification period, as required by Treasury, in which Tuscaloosa County ERAP has not heard from the Landlord or have confirmation they have declined to participate, the payment will be made to the Tenant, if eligible.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:  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. Note, funds may not still be available by the time a household applies.