The Jefferson County Commission has approved a federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program in the amount of $11.5 million for renters who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and need help with bills.
The County has partnered with three organizations that will manage the program, The Birmingham Urban League, Neighborhood Housing Services and Bridge Ministries. The program will begin accepting applications on Monday, May 24 through each of the community partners and through the county’s online application portal.
Residents who live in the City of Birmingham should apply through the city’s program (www.birminghamal.gov/covidrent), but all others in Jefferson County should apply through the assistance program. Details on the Jefferson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program including eligibility, documentation requirements, and information on how to apply can be found here.
To be eligible for the program citizens must be able to show the following:
- They are residents of Jefferson County, outside of the Birmingham city limits
- Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income
- Be at risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
Document a financial hardship (COVID-19 impact) by meeting one of the following:
–Qualified for unemployment benefits
–Experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or document a financial hardship due to COVID-19
Help is limited to 12 months, however in some cases an additional three months of assistance may be provided to ensure housing stability. Expenses can only be paid if they are due on or after March 13, 2020. Based on need, the program may also pay for up to three months of future rent and utilities. Expenses that can be covered:
- Trash removal
- Home energy costs including propane and fuel oil
- Other costs related to housing including internet expenses paid to the unit (but not cable, home phone or cell phone) and reasonably accrued late fees.
“Once again The Urban League is proud to partner with the Jefferson County Commission on this effort,” said Birmingham Urban League President William Barnes. “We saw the need with the first program and being able to once again provide relief means the world to our mission.”
“Giving people financial stability that they can build from to get back on their feet is what we are all about,” said Kelleigh Gamble, CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham. “We’ve seen so many impacted by COVID-19, I don’t think people truly realize how widespread it is, because no one wants to talk about needing financial help.”
“We already have a list of people we know that need help,” said Lisa Isay, Executive Director of Bridge Ministries. “We are thankful to be a part of this program and being able to provide what we know is much needed relief.”
Applications can be submitted online through the County’s portal starting Monday, May 24 at this site
In addition, individuals can apply through the nonprofit community partners. For more information on applying with each community partner, please visit their website or call them at the number listed below:
The Birmingham Urban League: 326-0162, https://birminghamul.org/
Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham: 205-328-4292, https://nhsbham.org/
Bridge Ministries: 205-930-0309, https://bridgeministriesbham.org/
Jefferson County and consultant Witt O’Brien’s will do periodic reviews with the agencies to ensure compliance with funding requirements.