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Orange County closes third round of CARES Act grant applications for individuals, families

Portal overwhelmed with applicants in previous weeks

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Individuals and families in Orange County had another opportunity Monday to apply for federal CARES Act funding to help pay for bills or rent due to financial hardship caused by the coronavirus.

At 8 a.m., residents were able to apply for funding through the CARES Act portal, and the program allowed 25,000 individuals into that portal before it is closed for application processing. The portal was closed about an hour later.

Orange County officials said in a tweet that the portal would reopen in the future to accept more applications, but a date for a fourth round of applicants was not given.

According to the county, 25,000 users visited the application portal Monday before it closed and 15,388 applications were submitted.

County officials said the program has now received a total of 18,889 applications, 1,105 of which have been approved. More than 150 applications have been denied and 60 are pending a supervisor’s review.

The CARES Act grant port opened to a rough start last week causing the county to shut it down one minute after it was schedule to go live on the first day and it remained open for 90 minutes on the second day due to an overwhelming response.

The grant money is highly sought after due to the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, more than 2.2 million people have filed for unemployment in Florida alone.

On Thursday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said since the applications opened Monday about $2 million has been allocated to families and individuals.

The county has $72.9 million total to provide up to $1,000 to families and individuals, as well as $72.9 million set aside for business assistance from the federal CARES Act grant.

“We’ve got a long way to go, fortunately, we have $72.9 million that ultimately we want to get in the hands of families and individuals," Demings said. "So we’re asking our community to be patient with us while we help you.”

Demings acknowledge the county is still working to smooth out wrinkles in the application process.

“We’re perfecting those processes to be able to process payments to get money in the hands of people quickly as quickly as we can and so this week has been instructive for us we’ve learned some things, and I’m very confident that next week, with some of the things that we will put in place, we will be able to pick up speed we’re processing the payments to individuals or individuals, families will get $1,000,” Demings said. “It’s gonna take some time for us to get all of the and spend and all of that $72.9 million for families and individuals.”

The business applications have gone more smoothly for the county and did not see the same issues the individual application portal experienced. The mayor said about 200 business grants have been approved thus far.

Anyone interested in applying is asked to go to to ocfl.net/OrangeCARES so they can see the list of required documents and get those in order before the portal reopens Monday.


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