City to distribute $6.8 million in rental assistance to residents in financial hardship

The City of Orlando has been awarded $6.8 million in COVID-19 Relief Funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to provide Emergency Rental Assistance for households that have been financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Distribution and management of the funds was approved during the Monday, January 10 meeting of the Orlando City Council.

Currently, the city is transitioning from the first phase of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP1) into the upcoming program (ERAP2), and will no longer accept city resident applications after Wednesday, January 19.

Residents are encouraged to start gathering documents and eligibility information in preparation for the ERAP2 portal opening on February 1.

To be eligible, a household must including the following:

  • One or more individuals within the household must have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • One or more individuals within the household who demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;  
  • Have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income ($61,050 for a family of four), with priority given to households at or below 50% of the area median income ($38,150 for a family of four) or that have a household member who has been unemployed for 90 days; and   
  • Submit proof of occupancy in the rental residence – this can include a copy of a lease, rental agreement, rent receipts, evidence of regular rental payments, or any other documents that show proof of occupancy.   

According to the city, rental assistance will only be provided for past-due rent and up to three months of prospective rent payments. The total amount of assistance, including any assistance received under the first phase of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, may not exceed 18 months.

Rental assistance payments will be made directly to the landlord. The applicant’s monthly rental rate may be no more than $4,000 per month. Assistance with utility payments will not be provided unless the utilities are billed as part of the lease.

Housing Stability Services will be available to prevent evictions, or to assist tenants in finding new housing and when necessary, pay fees, deposits, and rent for the new unit.

Residents interested in the program can visit the City of Orlando Rental Assistance webpage to sign up to receive email updates. The portal will open for applications on February 1.

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