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Jacksonville ahead of curve on distribution of rental assistance funds, Curry’s office says

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (file photo)
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry (file photo) (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Branch NAACP has called for an investigation into where millions of dollars in federal money aimed at helping Jacksonville renters has gone.

Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville Branch NAACP, sent a letter to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Jacksonville City Council members and the United Way of Northeast Florida, calling for a complete investigation and accountability. In the letter, Rumlin said that despite hundreds of people being helped, there remain thousands of Jacksonville residents still waiting.

The city and the United Way received $29 million for renter relief during the pandemic. The entire state of Florida received $870 Million with a recent report saying only 2% has been delivered to landlords on behalf of renters.

Curry was interviewed in a segment on national television Tuesday, where he said it was false to say that Jacksonville didn’t get the money moved properly.

“If someone makes me aware of the fact that we haven’t gotten federal dollars into the people’s hands that need it, I will look into that and make sure that’s fixed, but I believe that’s a false allegation,” Curry said.

News4Jax double-checked with the mayor’s office. a spokesperson issued a statement that reads:

“At this time, United Way has distributed 34% of the funds available for rental assistance, which is 28% more than the national average, and 32% more than the state average.  Additionally, all funds allocated to the Mortgage, Rent and Utility program last year were distributed within a matter of months.”

On Tuesday, the CDC issued a new moratorium on evictions that would last until October 3. It would temporarily halt evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmissions and would cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives.