The City of Jacksonville announced plans to use a $28.9 million grant from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help Duval County residents affected by the pandemic. The funds will be available to citizens to cover up to 12 months of rent and utility payments with the option for an additional three months if determined necessary to ensure housing stability. Partnering agency, the United Way of Northeast Florida, will distribute $23.8 million for rental assistance. The City will process the applications and work in partnership with JEA to distribute the remaining $5 million to thousands of eligible customer accounts with past due utility balances. The City will determine eligibility based on the standards below.
Federal guidelines require qualifying individuals and families to have an income that falls below 80% of the area median income. The requirements are as follows:
In addition to the income prerequisite, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Reside in Duval County.
- Provide proof of hardship due to COVID-19, including verification of unemployment benefits, a reduction in income or other financial issue that threatened the household’s ability to pay rent when due.
- Provide a documented risk of housing instability or homelessness.
- Be unable to access other payment assistance for the same costs (ex: If rent assistance was received from another program for March – May, this program may not be used to pay for rent during that timeframe; however, it could cover other months).
Eligible families that are facing eviction will be prioritized and assistance must be used to reduce outstanding payments before the household may receive funds for future payments. Payments will be made directly to the utility company or landlord.
Details about when and how to apply will be released in the upcoming weeks.