Mayor Curry announces nearly $30 million in additional federal relief for rent, utility assistance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry on Monday announced a new round of federal funding for rent and utility assistance that will be dispersed by the city of Jacksonville.

The $28.9 from the Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program comes with guidelines that were laid out by the city.

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.

The United Way of Northeast Florida will distribute $23.8 million for rental assistance and 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.

Curry said about 10,000 JEA customers are expected to benefit.

The city says it will be about two weeks before applications open.

In addition to the income prerequisite, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • 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.

That means those who qualify can’t make more than $42,000 as an individual or $54,000 in a three-person household.

It only applies to Duval County residents.

The city will have to present the plan to the City Council first, and that plan is expected to pass without any conflicts.

This comes more than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state would receive roughly $1.4 billion through the federal emergency rental assistance program to help those financially impacted by the pandemic.

According to the Treasury Department, several counties in Northeast Florida are slated to receive millions of dollars in funding including Clay County, St. Johns County, and Duval County.

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