Jacksonville FL — On Monday Jacksonville Mayor Lenny outlined plans to help bring more rent and utility relief to people hit hard by the pandemic. Curry says the city has received a nearly $30 million grant from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program. He says the United Way of Northeast Florida is set to distribute $23.8 million for rental assistance and the city will process applications and work with JEA to distribute the remaining $5 million for the 10,000 eligible customers with past due utility balances.
“Funds from this program may be used for utility bills and rent payments and may cover up to 12 months of assistance plus an additional three months if needed to ensure housing stability.” Curry says.
We’re told the city will determine eligibility based on the guidelines from the federal government which require qualifying individuals and families to have an income that falls below 80% of the area median income. Below we’ve outlined the income requirements based on household size.
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Some of the other requirements are you must be a Duval County resident, provide proof of a hardship due to the pandemic, prove a documented risk of homelessness and be unable to access other payment assistance for the same costs. The city says an example of that last one is if rent assistance was received from another program for March - May, this program may not be used to pay for rent during that timeframe, but if could cover other months.
Curry says the families that are facing eviction will be prioritized and the relief money has to be used to reduce outstanding payments first before it can be used for future payments. We’re told payments will be made directly to the landlord or utility company and Curry says landlords would be able to apply on behalf of renters.
The mayor says the next step is to get legislation filed with city council, so this plan can be put into action. He says the earliest that city council could approve the plan is two weeks from this Tuesday.
Application details haven’t been released yet, but are expected to be in the coming weeks.