What is the source of program funding?
On December 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 133) became law. This relief package includes $25 billion for emergency rental assistance, of which $6.6 million has been allocated to Baldwin County.
What are the purposes and the status of the Baldwin County Treasury ERAP?
The Baldwin County ERAP will support tenant and landlord applicants with access to funding of past due rent (arrears) that will be disbursed directly to the landlord on the tenant's behalf. Applicants who have already received assistance or payments of past due rent from other funding sources cannot request assistance for the same periods.
The main objectives of the Baldwin ERAP are as follows:
Why should I apply for the ERAP?
Renters within Baldwin County who have lost income due to job loss, reduction in hours, reduction in income due to COVID-19 can potentially receive funds for unpaid rent and assistance for rent in the future. Applicants who are approved and receive funds can avoid eviction or housing instability. Baldwin County residents who are experiencing housing and/or income instability can apply for future rent for up to three months at a time.
While applicants may receive assistance for up to 15 months, the Program will not commit funds for prospective (future) rent for more than 3 months at a time. Applicants must reapply every three months demonstrating they remain eligible and will only receive assistance if funds are still available.
Who can apply to the Baldwin County ERAP?
An application for rental assistance may be submitted by either an eligible tenant or landlord within Baldwin County. While the application can be started by either party, during the review/approval process, both parties will be required to provide some information/documentation.
Does Treasury ERAP funding go to tenants or landlords?
In all circumstances, the payment will go directly to landlords. To receive funds through the county program, landlords will need to provide a current W-9 and execute the Rental Assistance Contract.
What are the program eligibility criteria for tenants?
Tenants must be able to demonstrate all the following to be eligible for the program:
How do I demonstrate housing instability?
For this program, housing instability is defined as a household that:
Spends 50% or more of their take-home income on rent AND;
Does not have 3 months of forward rent in savings
What are the program eligibility criteria for landlords?
Para participar en el programa administrado por el condado, los propietarios deben aceptar lo siguiente:
To participate in the county-administered program, landlords must agree to the following:
Forgive late fees in excess of $300, penalties, interest; not charge for court costs.
Provide legal commitment not to evict the tenant
for past due rent before April 2020 (this program will pay arrears dating back to April 1, 2020) and;
for at least 60 days after assistance ends unless eviction is for cause other than non-payment of rent.
Agree to terms of assistance and submit required documentation, including a W-9.
What are the income requirements for new applicants?
The project limits eligibility to households with income that does not exceed 80 percent of area median income defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
How is household income defined and verified for this program?
Applicants must submit an accurate count of every household member and the income generated by all household members of age 18 and over. Failure to do so may result in the household being deemed ineligible based on the household's income exceeding 80% of area median income.
To verify income, tenants must provide their 2020 tax returns or income source documentation for the two months or eight consecutive weeks prior to the submission of the application.
Acceptable documentation includes:
Signed statement from employer stating wage and frequency of payment
Unemployment compensation statements
Notice of termination of employment or furlough
Can the ERAP funding be combined with other funding?
Applicants may not receive assistance from the ERAP Program which is duplicative of other benefits received. A duplication of benefits happens when a person, household, business, government, or other entity receives financial assistance from multiple sources for the same purpose, and the total assistance received for that purpose is more than the total need for assistance.
An eligible household that occupies a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive ERAP assistance, if ERAP 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 Voucher or AHFA) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in their income, the renter household may not receive ERAP assistance.
If a household receives rental assistance other than the ERAP, the ERAP assistance may only be used to pay for costs, such as the tenant-paid portion of the rent, that are not paid for by other rental assistance. Pursuant to section 501(k)(3)(B) of Subdivision N of the Act and 2 CFR 200.403, when providing ERAP assistance, the grantee must review the household's income and sources of assistance to confirm that the ERAP assistance does not duplicate any other aid, including federal, state, and local assistance provided for the exact costs.
How will applications be processed and maintained under the Baldwin ERAP?
Applicant information, including applications and any other supporting documentation, will be housed in the program's online portal. The portal will be accessible to tenants and landlord applicants. Applicants will receive program notifications and updates regarding their application from the online system and can contact program case managers via the ERAP Hotline. Should an applicant be unable to access the online portal or have other technical challenges, the applicant can call the ERAP Hotline at (251) 277-9969 to coordinate submission of the necessary documentation.
When do applications become inactive and withdrawn?
Applications will not be withdrawn due to inactivity until the application deadline of September 10th, 2021. However, applications that are not completed will not progress to the next step and start being reviewed.
Is there a deadline to submit my application?
Yes, an application submission deadline has been set for September 10th, 2021. All documentation to demonstrate eligibility must be submitted by this date. If documentation is missing at this time, the application will be withdrawn.
How far back can my rent be paid?
Rent owed as far back as April 1, 2020 is eligible to be paid by the program.
I paid my rent but experienced financial hardship. Can I be reimbursed for the rent I paid?
Individuals cannot be reimbursed for rent paid in the past. However, individuals can apply for assistance into the future in three month increments if they were financially impacted last year or this year by COVID-19 and meet other eligibility requirements.
I lost my home or it was damaged due to Hurricane Sally. Can I receive rental assistance due to Hurricane Sally?
No, to be eligible for rental assistance, the cause of your financial hardship MUST be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Will the program cover utilities? Can I get assistance with respect to utility or energy costs without also covering rent?
Utility assistance will not be offered through this program.
How do I apply again for additional assistance after 3 months?
Forward rent can be applied for online or by paper application. The online application ensures the fastest and most efficient process, so all are encouraged to apply online if possible.
Must I have an active lease to receive support?
No, you do not need to have an active lease to receive support. For the first round of support, expired leases will be accepted to help the individuals get caught up on rent. If you do not have a lease at all, the case manager will work with you to identify other documentation that may be used in its place.
However, in order to receive additional assistance, a fully executed current lease must be presented.
Late fees will only be covered if clearly outlined within a written lease agreement.
Where can I drop-off a paper application?
Drop-off is available in the County Commission Office, Monday through Friday from 8-11am and 1-4pm.
Baldwin County Commission Office
Baldwin County Administration Building
312 Courthouse Square, Suite 12
Bay Minette, Alabama 36507
Baldwin County Commission Office
Fairhope Satellite Courthouse
1100 Fairhope Avenue
Fairhope, Alabama 36532
Baldwin County Commission Office
Baldwin County Central Annex
22251 Palmer Street
Robertsdale, Alabama 36567
Baldwin County Commission Office
Foley Satellite Courthouse
201 East Section Avenue
Foley, Alabama 36535
I applied for the State of Alabama program at eraalabama.com in March, what will happen to my application, can I apply to this program?
If you applied during March to the State of Alabama’s ERAP (eraalabama.com), that program will continue to process your application and you are not eligible to apply to the Baldwin County ERAP. As of April 1, eraalabama.com stopped accepting applications from Baldwin County residents and directed those applicants to baldwinALtogether.org for assistance, so if you have not yet applied at eraalabama.com, you may apply to baldwinALtogether.org. NOTE: this does not apply to AHFA projects residents, residents of those projects are not eligible for the Baldwin ERAP and must apply to eraalabama.com for rental assistance.
Can property management companies participate in this program and/or act on behalf of owners?
Yes. Depending on the structure of the property management agreement between owner/property manager, required documentation will differ. Here are the two scenarios:
Property manager (“PM”} represents the owner and collects rent on behalf of owner, specifically such that rent is paid directly to the PM (i.e.rent checks addressed to PM) and PM pays the owner after withholding their fee. In this scenario, PM will act as “Landlord” for the application process. PM will submit identification of the legal representative of the PM entity, provide a W9 for the PM entity, and execute the final Rental Assistance Contract. In addition, an executed management contract between owner and PM will be required to substantiate the PM can collect rent from the tenant. Just as rent is normally paid to the PM, Baldwin County will pay ERAP funds to the PM on behalf of the renter.
Property manager represents the owner but rent is paid to the owner with owner paying the PM a fee directly. In this scenario, for purposes of the rental assistance application, all information provided must be for the actual property owner. PM may collect the documents from the owner and provide them on behalf of owner such as a owner’s identification and W-9 with owner’s information. Further, the lease provided must be between owner and tenant and Rental Assistance contract will need to be executed by the owner not the PM. No contract between PM and Owner is required. ERAP funds will be paid to the owner.