Polk County teacher says typo may cost her homeowner assistance funds

HAF application never provided to Dwann Davis

Dwann Davis admits a one-letter typo on her email address created a one-in-a-million mistake that could leave her without funds from the homeowner assistance fund, or HAF, for up to 6 months.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Dwann Davis admits a one-letter typo on her email address created a one-in-a-million mistake that could leave her without funds from the homeowner assistance fund, or HAF, for up to 6 months.

“When I registered, I hit a V instead of a C for cloud,” Davis told News 6. “When I realized the mistake, I registered again the next day and that’s when I received a registration number.”

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News 6 confirmed Davis received a registration number and there was a voice message from a Department of Economic Opportunity representative asking if she needed additional assistance for her application about 11 days before the Aug. 26 deadline.

The veteran Polk County school teacher sent a scathing email to the DEO last week after the application deadline had passed, writing in part, “Thank you for letting me down! …. And you wonder why teachers leave the profession.”

Vanessa Brito, founder of the Facebook Homeowner Assistance Fund Help page and longtime advocate for unemployment applicants, told News 6 mistakes in applications is one of “the most recurring issues.”

“When it comes time to modify any application, it has become absolutely impossible,” Brito said. ”There is no circle of communication at the DEO, from registration to application to the disbursement of payment, even in the review of the application.”

News 6 has been working with the DEO to make sure anyone that is eligible for HAF awards receives the funds.

Last week alone, nearly 1,000 people were awarded mortgage and utility funds by the DEO team.

DEO spokesperson Leigh McGowan told News 6 the DEO has prevented 90 foreclosures to date “to keep Floridians in their homes.”

“Ms. Davis reached out to us before the application deadline, and we are working with her to ensure that she is able to complete and submit her application,” McGowan said. “It is important for your viewers and readers to know that submitting an application does not guarantee that funding will be awarded to an applicant, as available funds are limited. DEO will continue to award funds to eligible homeowners, based on need priority per U.S. Treasury guidelines, until all funding is exhausted.”

She told News 6 that the DEO is reviewing the Davis application issue.

If you have an unemployment or HAF problem, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words “Make Ends Meet” to 407-676-7428.

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.