Orange County CARES Act portal closes for possibly last time

More info at OCFL.net/orangecares

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County’s portal for families and individuals to apply for federal CARES Act funds reopened Tuesday morning for what could be the last time, according to Mayor Jerry Demings.

About an hour later, the portal was closed. The county tweeted just before 9 a.m. that about 19,000 of the 20,000 user capacity had been reached.

“The application portal will allow up to 20,000 residents to apply for $1,000 grants. Perhaps, this may be the final time the portal will open,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at a Friday news conference.

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The mayor said county leaders will assess whether to reopen it again. The amount of CARES Act money the county has left and how many applications are processed and approved will determine whether the portal can be reopened.

The county received $243.2 million in CARES Act, or coronavirus relief, funding this spring and set aside $60 million to help families and $72.9 million to help businesses through grants. The county also set aside $20 million for its eviction diversion program to help tenants and landlords who have struggled with rent payments due to the pandemic.

The county has until Dec. 30, a deadline set by the federal government, to expend any remaining CARES Act money.

The portal to apply for family and individual assistance previously reopened about two weeks ago and reached its 15,000-user capacity within 40 minutes, county officials said.

Recently, the county expanded applicant criteria to allow more residents to apply for financial assistance. Those who have applied before and were not successful can now try again.

“For those who were denied in the past, or had a duplicate application and were denied, you are now eligible to reapply on December the 8th,” Demings said during Friday’s news conference.

The county has put together a guide for residents who have been rejected and are looking to reapply.

Visit OCFL.net/orangecares to learn about eligibility and all required documents before the portal reopens.