Orlando emergency rental assistance program to stop taking applicants

The deadline for households impacted by the pandemic to apply is July 1

FILE - A "For Rent" sign is posted on a building, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Matt Rourke, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando residents struggling to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic have until Friday to apply for the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“Since the pandemic first impacted our community, we’ve worked tirelessly to leverage federal and state funding to provide assistance to residents,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement. “During this difficult, unprecedented time, the financial support provided by our rental assistance program has helped thousands of Orlando households.”

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The announcement came with short notice due to the expectation that the $6.8 million in COVID-19 relief funds awarded to the city by the U.S. Department of the Treasury will soon run out.

More than 2,000 households have benefited from the city’s COVID-era emergency rental assistance programs, with more than 550 households getting by on rent thanks to CARES Act funding, the release said.

Those looking to apply by July 1 can start the process by reviewing the below eligibility requirements and clicking here.

To be eligible, your household must:

  • Include one or more individuals within the household who have qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Include one or more individuals within the household who demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income ($66,300 for a family of four), with priority given to households at or below 50% of the area median income ($41,450 for a family of four) or that have a household member who has been unemployed for 90 days.
  • Submit proof of occupancy in the rental residence – this can include a copy of a lease, rental agreement, rent receipts, evidence of regular rental payments or any other documents that show proof of occupancy.

While the above requirements are what’s asked for by the Treasury Department, the following eligibility conditions are required by the city:

  • The rental residence must be located within Orlando city limits. Applicants can verify their address at orlando.gov/assistance.
  • Rental assistance is provided for past-due rent and up to three months of prospective rent payments. The total amount of assistance, including any assistance received under the first phase of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, may not exceed 18 months.
  • Rentals in homeowner occupied or homestead properties are not eligible.
  • The applicant’s monthly rental rate may be no more than $4,000 per month.
  • Assistance with utility payments will not be provided unless the utilities are billed as part of the lease.
  • Rental assistance payments will be made directly to the landlord.
  • If a landlord refuses to participate in the program, eligible tenants will still receive assistance by working with a Housing Stability Services counselor, as long as resources remain available.
  • Housing Stability Services will be available through counseling to: prevent evictions; assist tenants in finding new housing and when necessary, pay fees, deposits and rent for the new unit; and provide housing-related services for survivors of domestic abuse or human trafficking.

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.