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Soaring rental prices causing some to lose homes, but these resources can help

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Many Alabamians are facing soaring rental prices, and it’s forcing some people to leave their homes, but there are some resources that can help.

First it was the pandemic, now renters are feeling the sting of skyrocketing rental prices, but the Birmingham Urban League said there are plenty of resources out there to help.

S&P’s National Home Price Index found U.S. home prices jumped nearly 20 percent year-over-year in February.

“We certainly see that it doesn’t seem like there’s any signs of slowing, especially for those who are still trying to recover from the pandemic. So, you’ve got that on top of soaring rental prices, and it really has become quite concerning,” said President & CEO of the Birmingham Urban League, William Barnes.

Barnes said the Birmingham Urban League has seen a recent uptick in the number of people needing rental assistance.

“In one, the amount of evictions that are coming through our court systems, and we actually work with the judges there. But two, we’re starting to see that the trend of prices that we are having to help and provide that need are starting to tick up as well,” Barnes explained.

Analysts said there are several reasons monthly rental prices are trending up, including a pricey and competitive housing market that’s locked out many would-be home buyers.

Rent freezes and other measures that helped keep rents low early in the pandemic have expired, and more people want to live on their own.

But in Jefferson County, there’s help to ease soaring prices.

“Keep your ear to new programs that are coming out. There, fortunately, have been several conversations on the federal side of continuing the programs, such as the Emergency Rental Assistance Program that also pays for utilities. It will pay up to 12-18 months for people that have found themselves in trouble. At the end of the day, the last thing that any person needs to worry about is where they’re laying their heads at night,” Barnes said.

Experts recommend spending only 30 percent of your monthly income on housing.

Barnes said if you find yourself in a bind, don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out to local agencies to help get you back on your feet.

The following is a list of agencies that may be able to help you:

· Bridge Ministries

· Birmingham Urban League

· Navigate Affordable Housing Partners

· One Roof

· Neighborhood Housing Services

· Housing Authority of Birmingham

· United Way of Central Alabama

· Catholic Charities

· Salvation Army

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