Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the re-opening of the City of Orlando’s rental assistance program, a partnership with Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW), which provides support to City of Orlando residents impacted by COVID-19 by providing funding to cover rent payments that have not been made since March 1, 2020. The pre-screening and application process has re-opened.
To date, the program, which originally opened for ten days in September 2020, has provided nearly $700,000 in financial support to more than 220 households. Funds are still available and residents who need support getting current on unpaid rent payments are encouraged to complete the pre-screening and application process.
State of Florida Coronavirus Relief Funds
“The City of Orlando will continue to do all we can to leverage state and federal dollars to help our residents who are facing unexpected and difficult economic circumstances as a result of this global pandemic,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “We are grateful this program can alleviate the pressure and stress families have about their unpaid rental payments, especially while we are in the middle of the holiday season.”
The program is funded with approximately $1.5 million in State of Florida Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. At the Monday, December 7 City Council meeting, the city will consider accepting an additional $949,500 in CRF funds to support residents in need through this program.
amendment to the original program
At the Monday, December 7 meeting, City Council will also consider an amendment to the original program as follows:
- Increasing the maximum amount of assistance from $10,000 to $12,500
- Covering rent payments not made from March 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020, where previously the program covered rent payments until October 31, 2020
- Capping the maximum rental amount to $2,500 per month
An added benefit to eligible residents, the process has been streamlined with an abbreviated application form and less documentation required.
Other eligibility requirements include:
- Live within City of Orlando limits
- Experienced a COVID-19 hardship such as a furlough, layoff, or reduced hours at work
- Paid February 2020 rent payment
- Have a current or month-to-month lease agreement for the rental of a residence or partial residence (this can include the rental of a room)
Residents will need to supply the following documents as part of their application:
- Certification rent payments have not already been covered by federal benefits or other charitable donations
- Certification of a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Copy of lease agreement
- W-9 form completed by tenant’s landlord
- Copy (or copies) of drivers’ license or government-issued identification for each adult household member claiming a COVID-19 hardship
Residents who are interested in applying should visit orlando.gov/assistance to complete the HFUW pre-screening process to determine eligibility. HFUW will email instructions and a link to complete the application to eligible residents following the pre-screening process. While residents are waiting for their pre-screening response from HFUW, they are encouraged to gather all required documents needed to apply.
Funds are limited and applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis on the date a fully completed application is received.
These CRF funds are to be used toward providing housing assistance and must be disbursed by December 30, 2020. As such, the pre-screening process will remain open until December 15, 2020, or until all funds are expended. Any application not fully completed and approved by December 18, 2020, will no longer be considered.