JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Starting this week, eligible Duval County residents will be able to apply for the city of Jacksonville’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
Applications opened at 8 a.m. Monday and will be accepted until 6 p.m. on Friday, April 9. (See more details on how to apply below.)
As of 4 p.m. Monday, 1,733 applications had been submitted and 3,110 applications were in progress but had not been submitted.
Through the program, nearly $29 million in federal funds will be distributed to Duval County residents who have been unable to pay their rent or utilities after losing income due to the COVID-19.
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 rental assistance program is a partnership between the city, the United Way and JEA. The funds will be available 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.
Colleen Rodriguez is the CEO of Jewish Family and Community Services, which is one of the city’s partners to help people with the application process.
“It’s going to allow us to not only pay their current rent, but we can help them with past rent that is due and even some months going forward,” Rodriguez said.
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.
“It’s also going to be critical that your landlord is in agreement and is wanting to work with you because, as you apply, there will be some documents needed from your landlord, and then all payments will be made directly to the landlord -- they will not be given to the individual,” Rodriguez explained.
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 at 8 a.m. Monday, March 29.
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).