ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County is reopening its portal for families and individuals to apply for federal CARES Act funds this week for what will likely be the last time, according to Mayor Jerry Demings.
“Our local CARES dollars must be spent as a reminder, by December 30, that’s just a couple of weeks away now, as mandated by the federal government to date. That means your opportunity to apply for our Orange CARES Individual and Family Assistance Program is coming to an end,” Demings said. “There will be one last opportunity to apply for the $1,000 that we have been providing for our residents who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, so mark your calendars.”
Demings announced during a news conference on Monday that the portal will reopen Thursday at 8 a.m. The mayor said there’s a good chance it will be the last time the portal is open to applicants before the end of the month, the deadline set by the federal government for when the funds must be distributed.
“We believe (this) will be the final time with this current round of CARES Act funding that will be made available to our residents before the deadline. This is, in fact, the 12th time that we have opened our application portal,” Demings said.
The portal will allow 10,000 users into the system on Thursday, according to Demings, 10,000 fewer applicants than accepted last time.
County officials said they will allocate approximately $2 million in remaining funding to approved applications in the order they are received. Once the available funding is exhausted, they will hold the remaining approved applications in case additional funds become available before the Dec. 30 deadline.
“Our ultimate goal is to not send any money back to the federal government,” Demings said.
All applicants will be notified of their status no later than the first week of January, according to the mayor.
Demings said those who have previously applied and have been denied funds can reapply.
During Monday’s news conference, he explained why officials deny some applicants.
Here are the top five reason applications have been denied, according to the mayor:
- The COVID impact documents could not be verified, or they were illegible.
- The social security card was missing or illegible.
- The applicant was not the individual who has been impacted by COVID-19.
- Residency could not be verified or address information was conflicting.
- Documents were illegible or incorrect.
The mayor encouraged those hoping to receive CARES Act money to look for more information about how to prepare for the portal’s opening by visiting OCFL.net/orangecares.
Demings said those who have applied in the past and have not received an update on their application status can also reapply on Thursday. Those who have been approved and were notified of their approval should allow up to 30 days for their check to be processed and delivered.
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 COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline for residents to apply for rental assistance through the county’s eviction diversion program for tenants and landlords is Wednesday, according to the mayor. Applicants must be at least two months behind on rent to be considered.
Has COVID-19 put you at risk of eviction? Apply for our Eviction Diversion Program, which may provide up to $4k in past due rent to eligible landlords and tenants.— Orange County FL (@OrangeCoFL) December 11, 2020
Visit https://t.co/JDOqHxs7WR to learn more and apply.
Application deadline: Wednesday, Dec. 16. pic.twitter.com/lHkLaIsuLC