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Rental assistance program could help people behind on water bills in Tuscaloosa

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 8:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More help is available for Tuscaloosa County residents who suffered financial hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Money that the federal government released for rental assistance has others uses too. That rental assistance money can also be used to pay utility bills, according to Tuscaloosa County officials.

That means some folks who have fallen behind in their payments on water bills in the city of Tuscaloosa may also qualify for assistance.

The grace period Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox put in place for water bills during the pandemic ended in March. Now according to the city, more than 4,400 water customers have fallen behind on payments.

Those unpaid fees total more $1.8 million.

WBRC contacted the city about the problem and were told some renters could be eligible for help through the Tuscaloosa County Rental Assistance Program. That’s being operated through the Tuscaloosa County Commission.

The County’s Assistant Administrator said more than 500 people have been helped so far.

“More people need it. There were people that suffered adversity because of the COVID-19 pandemic that lost their job or lost hours. They had to stay home to stay with their kids who were home from school. And some people suffered a loss of money. People had extra expenses and so they need a reset,” explained,” David Howell, Tuscaloosa County Assistant Administrator.

The deadline to apply for money through that program is September 2022.

Tuscaloosa County officials want people struggling right now to apply because there’s a chance they could qualify for financial assistance.

You can go to www.tuscco.com and look for the section on rental assistance and how to apply for help to see if you qualify.

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