The Madison County Emergency Rental Assistance program will no longer be accepting applications. If you continue to need assistance, please visit Hud.gov for available options. Applicants that have already been submitted are being processed and may be approved based on the continuing availability of funds.

This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA-2101123007 awarded to Madison County Commission by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

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The Madison County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MCERAP) will offer relief to landlords on behalf of income eligible tenants who cannot pay rent due to financial difficulties, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MCERAP assistance is subject to available funding, US Treasury Guidance and Polices established the Madison County Commission.

Click below to determine program eligibility. If eligible, you will be redirected to the application portal where you can submit your application.

Renter Eligibility

Who is eligible for MCERAP?

  • Must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling in Madison County.
  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Must be able to demonstrate risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • The household has an income at or below 80% of area median income (AMI) Madison County Income Limits.

What are the benefits?

  • Rent  (Future rent for up to three months)
  • Past Due Rent (arrears) to April 1, 2020
  • Utility – including electric, water, gas, sewer, (costs for internet, telephone, cable, or satellite television are not eligible under this program)

What documentation is needed?

  • 2020 W-2s or Income Tax Form (e.g. 1040).
  • Current pay stubs (last 2 months)
  • Lease or rental agreement or letter of attestation from landlord
  • Eviction notice (If applicable)
  • Unemployment Compensation Benefits letter (if applicable)
  • Documentation for other income sources (Social Security or Disability, Child Support, Alimony, Pension as applicable)
  • Legal Name of your landlord

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Madison County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (MCERAP) was created to help renters dealing with financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For eligible households, the program offers rental and utility assistance to help Madison County renters avoid eviction. Emergency Rental Assistance Programs were established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
The Program provides financial assistance to qualifying applicants to prevent housing instability, potential eviction, and financial hardships of tenants and landlords as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

To be eligible, a household must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling in Madison County and meet the criteria below:

  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly, or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • The household has a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income.
  • Eligible housing types include:
    • Households occupying a federally subsidized residential or mixed-used property if ERA funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.
    • Households receiving a monthly federal subsidy and the tenant rent has been adjusted according to changes in income Household, may receive ERA for tenant-owed portion of rent that is not subsidized.
    • People exiting homelessness, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
    • People leasing up in a new location, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
    • Obligation to pay mobile home lot rent and mobile home rentals.
    • People renting in recovery residence/sober homes as well as renting temporary housing if they relapse and cannot stay in residence, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate an obligation to pay rent.
    • Tenants residing in motels for more than 30 days.
    • Long-term care facilities (rent portion only).

An eligible household that lives in a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive assistance as long as MCERAP funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.  This would include Section 8 housing. If an eligible household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the renter household may receive “MCERAP” assistance for the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities that are not subsidized.

Household income at or below 80% of AMI for Madison County (see chart below).

MCERAP will use 2020 W2’s or tax filings when determining eligibility for benefits.

    • Household’s total income for calendar year 2020, OR
    • Sufficient confirmation of the household’s monthly income at time of application, annualized.
    • Determination of eligibility is required every 3 months.
  • MCERAP will use your 2020 tax filing or current W2’s along with all other sources of income including unemployment, self-employment, social security, pensions, child support, alimony, etc.

All adult members of your household over the age of 18 must provide the following:

  • Current lease signed by the applicant and landlord or sublessor that identifies the unit where the applicant resides and establishes the rental payment amount.
  • Other documentation demonstrating obligation to pay rent include:
    • Evidence of amount of rental payment may include bank statements, check stubs, or other documentation that reasonably establishes a pattern of paying rent.
    • Attestation by the landlord who can be identified as the verified owner or management agent of the unit.
    • Other reasonable documentation as defined by the grantee in its policies and procedures.
    • If an applicant can provide satisfactory evidence of residence but is unable to present adequate documentation of amount of rent, applicant can provide written attestation to support the payment of assistance up to a monthly maximum of 100% of the county Fair Market Rent.
      • Verification will be provided in the online application attesting that the information is true and accurate with an eSignature at the end of the application process.
      • Verification must include that household has not received and does not anticipate public or private subsidy.

An eligible household member must have a COVID-19 financial hardship as defined below AND be at risk of homelessness or housing instability.

 Financial hardship categories;

  • Qualified for Unemployment Benefits.
    • “Qualified for” does not require that the household member is “receiving” benefits OR
  • One or more of following, due directly or indirectly to COVID-19
    • reduction in income, OR
    • incurred significant costs, OR
    • other financial hardship AND
  • Be At-Risk of Homelessness or housing instability due to:
    • Past due rent or utility notice
    • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
    • Any other evidence of risk as determined by grantee.

MCERAP will rely on written attestation signed by applicant who has experienced reduction in Household Income.   Applicants will provide a written attestation that one or more members of the household experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

  • Qualified for Unemployment benefits. Applicant must be: 
    • receiving unemployment benefits or provide documentation from last employer, last job, last day worked, or dates receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Demonstrate risk of homelessness or housing instability. Acceptable documentation is:
    • Past due notice (rent or utility or both) OR
    • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions defined as:
      • Lack of water / sewer or major plumbing issues
      • Chipping / peeling paint
      • Presence of serious mold
      • Red-tagged fuel tank
      • Weatherization initiatives
      • Bedbug eradication for the qualified applicant
      • Any other necessary repair
  • Rent to income ratio of more than 30% of adjusted income.
  • Other evidence of risk as determined by MCERAP.
  • Back rent accrued AFTER April 1, 2020 is eligible provided they were not paid by another rental subsidy program.
  • For households in subsidized housing, all back rent after April 1, 2020 for tenant-owed portion of the rent may be paid even if rent has not been adjusted for changes in income if the subsidizing owner or agency cannot grant complete retroactive reduction in rent.
  • Funds may be used for prospective rent at a new unit; there is no requirement regarding the length of tenure in the current unit.
  • Applicants will be required to provide a copy of a lease, or other documentation that they have a rent obligation.
  • Allow Other Expenses Related to Housing payment to prospective landlord to make minor repairs upon signed lease (minimum 1 year).
    • Applicant household must be “at risk of homelessness due to unsafe or unhealthy living conditions.”
  • Current lease showing rental amount (must be provided if available)

OR

  • other documentation demonstrating an obligation to pay rent, such as:
    • Documents establishing a pattern of paying rent.
    • A written statement by landlord
    • For household receiving subsidy, documentation establishing tenant arrears and tenant portion of rent must be provided.
  • Paystubs, W-2’s,
  • All back-rent (arrears) must be documented even if not paid in full.
  • The program may provide assistance to households at-risk of homelessness and exiting homelessness, provided the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
  • Includes people leasing up in a new location, provided the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.

The following will be collected with each tenant application.

  • Number of household recipients
    • Head of Household full name
    • Date of Birth
    • SSN (last 4 digits)
    • Gender, Race and Ethnicity
    • Email, Phone, Cell Phone if different
    • Street number, street name, street suffix, Apt #, City, State, County, Zip code
    • Number of bedrooms
    • Amount of rent arrears for each Household
    • Number of months’ rent payment and number of months utility payments
    • Household income
    • Owner identifier
  • Types of Assistance provided
    • Amount and percentage of monthly rent covered
    • Total amount of each type of assistance provided to each household (i.e., rent, rent arrears, and other expenses related to housing incurred)

The following will be collected with each landlord application.

  • Full Name
  • Address, City, State, Zip
  • Tax id number
  • Completed W-9
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Attestation (with eSignature at end of application) that:
    • They will not increase the rent for the number of months receiving benefits.
    • Owner agrees to notify MCERAP and return grant funds if tenant moves from the unit before the end of the benefit period.

MCERAP will begin offering assistance on June 1, 2021.

Please use the interactive MCERAP Eligibility Chatbot available on the website to determine initial program eligibility. If eligible, you will be redirected to the application portal where you can submit your application.

The Madison County Emergency Rental Assistance program will no longer be accepting applications.

If you continue to need assistance please visit Hud.gov for available options. Applicants that have already been submitted are being processed and may be approved based on the continuing availability of funds.