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Federal help for renters in Baldwin County starts today

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Baldwin County residents feeling financial hardships from the COVID-19 outbreak may see help as soon as today.

The U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program is meant to address homelessness or housing instability due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This relief package includes $25 billion for emergency rental assistance. Close to $7 billion of that will go to Baldwin County.

Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop is Community Engagement Manager of the Baldwin County EMA. She says certain people qualify.

“Anyone making $65,000 or less who was negatively impacted by COVID economically is eligible for this,” she said. “People that are behind on their rent can apply for up to three months at a time. They are eligible for up to 15 months of total rent paid. Dating back to March 2020. So up to three months at a time in arrears. Also if you can prove a hardship moving forward, you can also apply for three months of rent.”

Bloodworth-Botop adds that there’s a process for applying.

“The preference is going to be for people to apply online. But, there will be phone number people can call and also make the application process by phone. And there will paper applications available, and we’ll announce where those sites for the paper application will be,” she said.

This federal assistance builds on what Governor Kay Ivey authorized earlier this month. Ivey ordered the Alabama Housing Finance Authority to implement the state’s new COVID-19 emergency rental assistance program.

The Act also funds separate rental assistance programs serving residents of Baldwin, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Jefferson Counties, and the cities of Huntsville and Birmingham. Applicants have to be able to show they experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19.

The website to apply for rental relief in Baldwin County is baldwinaltogether.org.

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