Friday, August 12 2022

ORLANDO, Florida. – Orlando residents struggling to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic have until Friday to apply for the city’s emergency rental assistance program.

“Since the pandemic first impacted our community, we have worked tirelessly to leverage federal and state funding to provide assistance to residents,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement. “During this difficult and unprecedented time, the financial support provided by our Rental Assistance Program has helped thousands of Orlando households.”

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The announcement came on short notice due to the expectation that the $6.8 million in COVID-19 relief funds given to the city by the U.S. Treasury Department will soon run out.

More than 2,000 households have benefited from the city’s COVID-era emergency housing assistance programs, with more than 550 households living on rent with CARES Act funding, the statement said.

Those wishing to apply before July 1 can begin the process by reviewing the eligibility requirements below and click here.

To be eligible, your household must:

  • Include one or more persons within the household who have been eligible for unemployment benefits or who have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced other financial hardship during or as a result, directly or indirectly, of of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Include one or more people in the household who demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability.

  • Have a household income at or below 80% of the zonal median income ($66,300 for a family of four), with priority given to households at or below 50% of the zonal median income (41 $450 for a family of four) or have a household member who has been unemployed for 90 days.

  • Submit proof of occupancy of the rental residence – this may include a copy of a lease, tenancy agreement, rent receipts, proof of regular rent payments or any other document proving occupancy.

Although the above requirements are those requested by the Treasury Department, the following eligibility requirements are required by the city:

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  • The rental residence must be located within the Orlando city limits. Applicants can verify their address atorlando.gov/assistance.
  • Rent assistance is provided for overdue rent and up to three months of potential rent payments. The total amount of assistance, including any assistance received under the first phase of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, cannot exceed 18 months.

  • Rentals in owner-occupied properties or family properties are not eligible.

  • The applicant’s monthly rent cannot exceed $4,000 per month.

  • Assistance for the payment of utilities will not be provided unless the utilities are charged as part of the lease.

  • Rental aid will be paid directly to the landlord.

  • If a landlord declines to participate in the program, eligible tenants will still receive assistance by working with a Housing Stability Services counselor, as long as resources remain available.

  • Housing stability services will be available through counseling to: prevent evictions; help tenants find new accommodation and, if necessary, pay fees, deposits and rent for the new accommodation; and providing housing-related services to victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.

Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All Rights Reserved.

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