Orange County closes small business relief applications, opens eviction diversion portal

Tenants urged to coordinate with their landlords

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – On Friday, Orange County will close the application process for small business owners to apply for coronavirus financial relief and then on Tuesday, it will open the portal for its new eviction diversion program.

Local small business owners have until Friday at 5 p.m. to get their documentation in order and apply for a $10,000 CARES Act grant to help offset some of their coronavirus-related expenses and revenue losses.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said already, the county has paid out a total of $45.7 million in the form of 4,500 grants.

“Our mission has been to distribute $65 million to Orange County small businesses and we are on track to reach that goal with the remaining applications to be processed,” Demings said. “We’ll monitor that very closely, if we have an opportunity in the future to reopen that we will, but at this point we believe that we have sufficient numbers that we will expend the planned allocation of $65 million.”

Applications for that program can be submitted here before 5 p.m. Friday.

Demings also recently announced the creation of a $20 million eviction diversion program to help those who are behind on rent due to a loss of income keep their housing.

The portal for the newly formed program will open for the first time on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Before then, tenants are urged to get their documents in order and have a conversation with their landlord because applications will be denied if both the landlord and the tenant are not willing to participate.

Only Orange County residents are eligible and there’s a requirement that the landlord and tenant have a written lease agreement and that the tenant be at least two months behind on rent.

“You will not be able to submit your application without the proper documentation so we want people to be prepared when we open up the portal next week, make sure that you have some conversations with your landlord in advance of that,” Demings said.

The goal is to use the $20 million to help 5,000 to 8,000 families avoid eviction.

Anyone interested in applying will be able to do so Tuesday at ocfl.net/evictiondiversion. Prospective applicants can also click that link to see the eligibility criteria and required documents before then.

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