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DeSantis announces $250M to help Floridians pay rent & mortgages

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Over 2,500 Floridians would already be facing eviction if not for a moratorium put in place by the governor.

That moratorium is set to expire July 1, but there is some hope for those struggling to make ends meet amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is making $250 million in CARES Act funding available to help families and individuals cover the cost of rent and mortgage payments.

That financial relief is something the Florida Apartment Association has been pushing for in recent weeks.

“Obviously, things are being stretched thin right now and so this is going to bring both residents, as well as housing providers, the relief that they need,” said Amanda Gill, the organization’s government affairs director.

Of that funding, $120 million will go toward affordable housing. Those funds will be distributed through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC).

“We’ll be working directly with their developer or landlords to square up their accounts with them,” FHFC Executive Director Trey Price said.

County governments will share an additional $120 million to help those who don’t live in affordable housing but still need financial assistance.

“There’s not enough affordable housing in Florida,” Price said. “So there are a lot of folks in market rate housing who are paying a good percentage of their monthly income to rent or mortgage.”

Another $2 million will pay for staffing and assistance for housing for those with special needs. The remaining $8 million is allocated for anticipated administrative costs.

While the additional funds will provide some relief, the money likely won’t begin flowing until July, which is why some groups are calling on DeSantis to extend his eviction moratorium for three more months.

The apartment association believes programs like this one, not moratoriums, are the best way to help landlords and tenants cover their bills.

“We’ve already seen across the state, several local governments have established rental relief funds and that has made a huge impact both with our members, as well as residents being able to pay their rent,” Gill said.

It’s unclear whether the governor intends to extend the eviction moratorium. Capitol News Service has been told that decision is still under review.