Pandemic financial assistance available for Orlando renters

Applications can be submitted at Orlando.gov/assistance

For Rent sign (KSAT)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The city of Orlando is opening the application process again to help hundreds more families make rent amid the ongoing financial hardships of the coronavirus.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a news release the city has reopened its rental assistance program in partnership with Heart of Florida United Way. Under the program, Orlando residents who have been impacted by COVID-19 since March 1 can apply to receive up to $10,000 to make rent payments. Next Monday, the city council will consider voting to increase the financial aid to $12,500.

The pre-screening and application process can be found at orlando.gov/assistance.

Since September the city has provided nearly $700,000 in financial support to more than 220 households. The city received $1.5 million in State of Florida Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) provided by the federal CARES Act and still has more money to distribute. Next week, the city council will also consider accepting an additional $949,500 in CRF funds to support residents in need through this program.

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“The City of Orlando will continue to do all we can to leverage state and federal dollars to help our residents who are facing unexpected and difficult economic circumstances as a result of this global pandemic,” Dyer said in a news release. “We are grateful this program can alleviate the pressure and stress families have about their unpaid rental payments, especially while we are in the middle of the holiday season.”

Since the program started, the city and Heart of Florida United Way have streamlined the application form and less documentation required, making it easier to apply.

To qualify, renters must live within city limits, have experienced a pandemic-related hardship and have paid February rent.

Residents will need to supply the following documents as part of their application: Certification rent payments have not already been covered by federal benefits or other charitable donations, proof of a financial hardship due to COVID-19, a copy of a lease agreement, a W-9 form completed by the tenant’s landlord and copies of drivers’ license or government-issued identification for each adult household member claiming a COVID-19 hardship.

Residents who are interested in applying should visit orlando.gov/assistance to complete the pre-screening process to determine eligibility. United Way will email instructions and a link to complete the application to eligible residents following the pre-screening process.

Funds are limited and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis on the date a fully completed application is received.

Applications will remain open until Dec. 15 or until all the funds have been allocated.