Orange County commissioners unanimously approve plan to help struggling renters

Emergency Rental Assistance 2 Program set to begin Oct. 1

Leaders in Orange County unanimously approved a new plan to help residents who are struggling to make rent.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Leaders in Orange County unanimously approved a new plan to help residents who are struggling to make rent.

During a meeting on Tuesday, commissioners discussed the federally funded Emergency Rental Assistance 2 Program.

Through the new plan, Orange County officials said there are fewer requirements, which means more renters would be eligible for the funds.

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To qualify for the new assistance program, renters would have to show proof of financial hardship during the pandemic. Unlike the previous program, though, the hardship doesn’t have to be caused by COVID-19.

For instance, a rent increase above 10% is considered a financial hardship. There are also income requirements, which restrict eligibility to households that make 80% or less of the area median income.

The new program comes as Orange County voters are set to decide on a government rent control ordinance in November. Under the proposal, most rent increases would be capped at the rate of inflation.

The ballot measure is being challenged by three realty and property management companies who argue that commissioners haven’t proven there’s a housing emergency.

Officials said they’re still working to update the county’s website with information on the Emergency Rental Assistance 2 Program, which is planned for an opening date of Oct. 1.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.