In June, AHFA initiated a collaborative venture with Legal Services Alabama (LSA) called the Imminent Eviction Prevention Initiative. ERA Alabama works with LSA lawyers to expedite cases for renter households who have submitted a rental assistance application online with ERAAlabama.com, have been served a formal eviction notice or court case filing, and are eligible to remain in their existing households based on the landlord’s separate ERA Alabama application and agreement.
LSA serves low-income people by providing civil legal aid and by promoting collaboration to find solutions to problems of poverty. They have eight offices around the state that service all 67counties in Alabama.
A pilot program for the initiative started in Tuscaloosa with three lawyers. One of those lawyers, Willie Mae Jones, served as liaison to keep referrals simple and to monitor the files sent to ERA Alabama. Jones says, “When AHFA contacted me, we knew we had to find a means to get the landlords paid and stop these evictions. AHFA’s idea was to expedite those files in which eviction was most imminent (files pending in court). Many of these clients were just a Writ away from homelessness. The program was just what we needed, and there are many more Alabamians still in need.”
Today, twenty lawyers from all eight LSA offices in the state participate in the program. As of July 30, the program has helped 81 Alabama families. Another 25 cases are pending.
Jones says, “I am excited about the Imminent Eviction Prevention Initiative because it is our best option to help our clients avoid homelessness. It is a win-win for tenants and landlords, and I just hope more landlords will participate in the program so they can get reimbursed while helping Alabama families keep their housing.”The Imminent Eviction Prevention Initiative is open to other attorneys whose clients may be interested in participating. For more information, click here to see our flyer.