Alabama Housing Finance Authority: money to help renters, landlords is coming soon

Woman pays rent to help family on verge of eviction
Woman pays rent to help family on verge of eviction(KOLD News 13)
Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 at 10:56 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Fearing eviction is a terrifying reality for an estimated 40 million Americans struggling to pay rent.

But soon, some Alabamians will be able to get their hands on money to help with that burden.

In the last stimulus package in December, Congress approved $25 billion for rental assistance. Millions of dollars will go to Alabama. But we’re told the state’s share has not been received yet. That could come any day.

“I’m getting calls from landlords who go, ‘I’ve got three or four rental properties and nobody’s paying and I cant pay the mortgage payments. What do I do,’” Amy Tanner said.

Amy Tanner is an attorney specializing in bankruptcy law. She says it’s clear, the need for rental assistance in North Alabama is critical.

“We have so many people who are in need of this assistance and I think the biggest issue with this assistance is to get the word out to the people who do need it,” she said.

So who qualifies?

Federal rules say you qualify if your income is no more than 80% of the area’s median income per household. If someone in your house is unemployed, or if you have past due rent or eviction notices.

This week, President Biden extended the eviction mortarium, so Americans are protected from being kicked out of their homes through March.

But these funds can also pay for utilities.

The Alabama Housing Finance Authority, the agency that will distribute the money, sent us this statement, it says in part.

“The Alabama Housing Finance Authority (AHFA) expects to receive rental assistance funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury soon. As we await further guidance, AHFA is making preliminary preparations to develop how that funding will be allocated to renters in need in our state.”

In the meantime, Tanner says communicating with your landlord is the best option.

“If you are in fear of being evicted, communicate with your landlord, let them know what is going on. Number two, if you can make a partial payment, this can sometimes be helpful to show that you’re putting forth the effort,” Tanner said.

And Madison County Commission chairman Dale Strong says the county has asked for its share of the money.

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