JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville is preparing to distribute nearly $29 million in federal funds to Duval County residents who have been unable to pay their rent or utilities after losing income due to COVID-19.
The rental assistance program is a partnership between the city, the United Way and JEA.
Applications will be accepted starting Monday, March 29 at 8 a.m. The application deadline is Friday, April 9 at 6 p.m.
Unlike other programs, there’s no set maximum dollar amount one person can receive, but there are strict criteria regarding who qualifies and who doesn’t.
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 JEA and the United Way of Northeast Florida will administer the program, with JEA managing $5 million and United Way distributing $23.8 million.
“What’s different about this program is that it is for rent that is past due up to 12 months due to the situation, and potentially used for forward rent, depending on the situation,” explained Michelle Braun, president and CEO of United Way of Northeast Florida.
Braun pointed out that the assistance checks will be sent directly to the landlord and not deposited into a bank account like the stimulus check.
“There will be a two-week window when people can apply in person or online. Applications close on April 9 at 6 p.m., so there’s a time period where people do need to apply,” Braun emphasized.
Braun said residents will be prioritized by when they file for assistance and the amount of money they need. She anticipates the actual check will be cut approximately two weeks after April 9.
Even though there is a significant amount of money available in this program -- $29 million -- Braun said there is the possibility that the money could run out. Braun suggested applicants start gathering their documents now, and contact their landlord and let them know that they are applying for federal funds.
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:
Household size -- Total Income
One person -- $42,000
Two people -- $48,000
Three people -- $54,000
Four people -- $60,000
Five people -- $64,800
Six people -- $69,600
Seven people -- $74,400
Eight people -- $79,200
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).
You can ONLY apply for the program if your name is on the lease, and this information will be verified with the property owner or landlord.
Priority must be provided to households that have incomes at or below 50% AMI or have one or more members who have been unemployed for at least 90 days.
How to apply
Residents can apply online or in-person by appointment only beginning Monday, March 29 at 8 a.m.
The fastest and easiest way for tenants and landlords to apply is online.
The online application is available by visiting https://www.coj.net/erap
Paper applications will be available for pick up and drop off at the sites below. Limited in-person assistance is by appointment only.
Drop Off Only Sites:
Catholic Charities – Jacksonville
40 East Adams Street, Suite 310 – 32202
Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry
850 6th Avenue South, Suite 400 – 32250
City of Jacksonville Housing and Community Development Division
214 North Hogan Street, 7th Floor – 32202
Pick Up, Drop Off, and In-Person Application Assistance Sites:
Jewish Family & Community Services
6261 DuPont Station Court – 32217
5310 Lenox Avenue, Suite 22 – 32205
Downtown Ecumenical Services Council
215 North Ocean Street – 32202
For additional information, see the city’s FAQs (click here) or call 904-630-2489 (CITY).