Jacksonville gets more help for rent and utilities

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Jacksonville is getting an additional $3.3 million from the federal government to help people pay for rent and utilities, on top of the nearly $63 million the city already disbursed.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is for Duval households that are unable to pay rent or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, covering up to 12 months prior to entering the program.

The funds are enough to potentially benefit 800 more households in Duval County, as the program also covers the Beaches and the Town of Baldwin. Only renters are eligible for the assistance, which cannot be made to settle late mortgage payments.

Households are eligible to apply if they satisfy three criteria:

1. One or more individuals within the household has:

  • Qualified for unemployment benefits, or
  • A reduction in household income, significant costs or other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID-19. No additional documentation is needed to prove loss from COVID-19 beyond attesting to it personally, unless documentation is missing or fraudulent information is submitted.

2. One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, which may include:

  • A past-due utility or rent notice or eviction notice, unsafe or unhealthy living conditions or any other evidence of such risk, as determined by the city.

3. The household has a household income that is not more than 80% of the area median income.

Household size 50% Total AMI 80% Total AMI
One Person $29,300 $46,850
Two People $33,450 $53,550
Three People $37,650 $60,250
Four People $41,800 $66,900
Five People $45,150 $72,300
Six People $48,500 $77,650
Seven People $51,850 $83,000
Eight People $55,200 $88,350

The program works in tandem with other federal programs and sources of funding for rental assistance. Any federal assistance a household received through other means will affect the 15-month limit — which consists of the 12 previous months and three prospective future months. Applicants are not allowed to double dip.

An example would be the OUR Florida program, which received $1 billion in federal funds to distribute statewide for rental assistance. A household that covered three months of rent using OUR Florida would be eligible to cover nine months under Jacksonville’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Priority is given to applicants with a household income at or below 50% of the area median income or who have one or more members who have been unemployed for at least 90 days, or have been served an eviction notice. Outside of those three criteria, other applicants will be processed and assisted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The application portal will open Wednesday, Nov. 30, and close Monday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. You can apply through the portal and get additional information at coj.net/ERAP.

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