Darrell Watkins, Ozark

Watkins Success Story CollageDarrell Watkins and his family recently received help from Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama. Darrell lives in Ozark, and began a tax business on January 1, 2020. Just after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he was saddened to have to close his new business. He says, “I didn’t have a clue what we were going to do.”

Darrell had been following the news and heard about the program. "When I heard about the rental assistance program, I called right away, but it had not started yet. So the date it began, I started the application process.” He noted that the process was easy to understand and follow through. "My landlord was great. They gave me all the information I needed to complete the application, and they were very patient with me.”

Darrell was approved for assistance to cover past due rent expenses plus 3 months of future rent. He says, “This is giving us time to get caught up. I am thankful for the help, and I would tell others who are struggling not to hesitate to apply.”


Anonymous, Montgomery

C. Fuller in Montgomery recently received assistance from Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama and agreed to share her story so others would know, “The help is out there – it’s real.”

Fuller was laid off from her job at a plant making parts for BMW and Mercedes, and then contracted COVID-19 last December. She had paid her rent in December, but her unemployment compensation was paused because there was a problem with her paperwork. She was accumulating late fees and having trouble paying utility and other bills. She heard about Emergency Rental Assistance Alabama on the news and kept checking the AHFA website, so she knew when the program opened.

Fuller has a 26-year-old son and currently lives alone. She said the help from ERA Alabama, “Has been a such a stress reliever. I’m ready to get back in the ball game and get back to work, but this has just been such a blessing.” She says many of her neighbors thought the program wasn’t real and was just for TV. “I told them – you can go ahead and think these people aren’t going to help, but I’m going to go ahead and apply and get help. Then once everyone found out it was real, they all started asking me how to apply and what they needed to do.”

Fuller says her landlord was a great help and made sure the paperwork was in order, which quickened the process. “You just have to get the right paperwork in order and submit the right paperwork. They will give you a case number where you can check back on it and see if it’s getting through.”

She says, “I just want people to know this is real. We went through a pandemic – a bad pandemic, and the government put this money out there to help people and their families. I took the opportunity, and this has truly been a light at the end of the tunnel. People should take advantage of this help – that’s what it’s there for.”