TALLAHASSEE — Florida will give out $240 million in federal CARES Act money to help families hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic pay rent and mortgages, officials announced Thursday.
Half of the money, $120 million, will go to families living in affordable housing units to help cover rent from July through December, with the option of also applying to rent from April to June this year.
Another $120 million will be assigned to counties to give to its residents for rental and homeowner assistance programs.
State officials didn’t say when the money would be available or how people could apply for it. As the programs advance, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation will provide more information at FloridaHousing.org, officials said.
The coronavirus pandemic has thrown millions of Floridians out of work, leaving them struggling to pay rent, mortgages and utilities. Gov. Ron DeSantis has already imposed a ban on evictions that is set to expire July 1.
“This initiative strives to provide financial assistance through multiple affordable housing programs to ensure these Floridians receive the support they need during this difficult time,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement.
Thursday’s announcement appears to represent an additional infusion of funding on top of federal coronavirus relief money counties have already received.
Hillsborough County allocated about $257 million in CARES Act funding to a variety of programs, including at least $15 million toward utility, rent and mortgage assistance, according to the county website. Information about how to apply is here.
Pinellas County also received about $170 million from Congress, which it’s partly used toward rental and housing assistance, as well as relief for small businesses. Residents have been applying for that funding here.
The next two months could provide additional stress to the more than 2.4 million people who have applied for unemployment benefits in Florida since March. In addition to the eviction ban set to expire next week, the $600-per-week federal unemployment benefits run out on July 25, and utilities across the state are set to resume disconnections in July and August.