BAY MINETTE — After dispensing more than $7 million over two years, Baldwin County will end its Emergency Rental Assistance Program on Aug. 18.The county commission voted Tuesday, July 19, to …
BAY MINETTE — After dispensing more than $7 million over two years, Baldwin County will end its Emergency Rental Assistance Program on Aug. 18.
The county commission voted Tuesday, July 19, to give 30 days' notice that the program to assist renters and landlords affected by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 will conclude. The program, known as ERAP, began in 2020. As of Friday, July 15, the program has distributed $7.6 million in federal rental assistance funds to 1,793 applicants, said Cian Harrison, county treasurer.
"It helped a lot of people," Harrison said. "They found people who were living in their cars with kids. They can put them in motel rooms for a short time under this as well as helping with rent."
Commissioner Charles "Skip" Gruber said the program has been a benefit for county residents and landlords.
"It has been a good program," Gruber said. "Y'all have worked miracles."
Commissioner Joe Davis said program administrators and staff members had to work out the requirements of a new federal program while processing hundreds of applications.
"When you're dealing with new programs like that with ground rules and requirements, all those are being made up as we go and Cian, congratulations to you and all your people for staying on top of that and getting us through," Davis said.
Harrison said the staff and director Katrina Taylor did a good job in developing and running the program.
"I just want to say thank you to Katrina Taylor; she has done an amazing job," Harrison said.
Commission Chairman Jeb Ball said the program helped many residents, but the time is right to wrap up the project.
"We appreciate all that, and I'm glad the money ran out, too," Ball said. "I'm sure the citizens as well appreciated what we did."
Harrison said the program has about $500,000 available for distribution before the end of the project period Aug. 18.
The program is available for tenants in a rental unit in Baldwin County where the household has lost income or experienced other costs due to COVID-19 and are at risk of losing their home, according to the website.
Anyone with questions about the program can also call (251) 239-4360 or email ERAP.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The commission voted in July 2020 to establish an assistance program for residents affected by the economic effects of COVID-19. In 2020, program organizers told commissioners that 76 percent of requests for rental assistance to one local assistance agency were related to COVID.