Seminole County launches mortgage assistance program

Application portal opens at 10 a.m. Monday

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Seminole County government opened a new application portal Monday to provide emergency mortgage payment assistance to residents. The program will be divvying up $1.6 million of federal COVID-19 relief funds.

“This is a very long-term difficult process to put together and we did it in a very short period of time,” Lee Constantine, Chairman, Seminole County Board of Commissioners said.

The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) is designed to help homeowners pay for their mortgage or utility payments if they are facing financial hardship because of the coronavirus pandemic. The county expects to be able to help about 300 households.

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“I have applied for at least a thousand jobs with no success,” Margo Stuckey-Creenan, who is applying for assistance said. “I don’t have enough money to make rent.”

Approved applicants will not be required to pay back the grants received through the program.

The online portal, available at SeminoleEMAP.com, will open Monday at 10 a.m. and close once 500 applications are submitted. Completed applications will be considered in the order they were received, county leaders said.

“We are committed here in Seminole County to bring the resources to the citizens that need it the most. Those who have been hit so hard by this pandemic,” Constantine said.

Eligible households must have a past due balance due to COVID-19 and be able to prove a loss or reduction in income due to the pandemic. Households must also have an income at or below 80% of the area median. In Seminole County, that would mean a two-person household with a salary of $48,850 or below.

County officials recommend homeowners gather the necessary documents prior to applying.

“We have staff here who will help every person uploaded and scan their documents,” Allison Thall, Director of Community Services said.

Stuckey-Creenan said she appreciates the help making sure she put in her application properly.

“Nothing like in person contact and feeling like you’ve spoke to somebody, they know who you are, and what you’re trying to deal with,” she said.