ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County residents facing eviction will get a chance to apply for some relief Tuesday morning through the county’s new eviction diversion program.
Earlier this month, the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved a plan to use $20 million in CARES Act money to fund a new program aimed at helping those who are struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic avoid eviction.
The portal opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday at OCFL.net.
County leaders said the goal is to help at least 5,000 families with a priority on families from very low-income households.
The program is a partnership with the Orange County Bar Association, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and other local legal assistance nonprofit agencies.
Renters are encouraged to apply fast because the funds are first come, first serve. Residents must be at least two-months behind on rent and have a documented loss of income due to the coronavirus. Both the renter and the landlord must agree to the program.
“You are going to have to self-report your Income for 2020. You are going to have to have proof of Covid impact, 2 bank statements,” said Roseann Harrington, with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings’ office.
County leaders when people apply online, they will first go through a pre-screening process to make sure they qualify. Then, Orange County will Pay up to $4,000 to landlords, who must agree not to evict the residents who are approved.
“The sooner you can submit all of your documentation, the sooner we can get relief to the landlord - to get you back on your feet,” said Harrington.
News 6 spoke with a mother of three children in the Parramore neighborhood who said she’s behind on rent and things have been tough. She plans to apply for the eviction diversion program.
“It’s hard to play catch up when the bills keep coming,” she said. “It’s been hard, just going day by day, and when bills keep coming. It’s like, ‘yes ee may have gotten unemployment, but employment gets you but so far.”