Jacksonville councilman proposes $3M bill to help struggling families with rent, light bills

Money would come from Cares Act Funding, Gaffney said

Reggie Gaffney holds news conference Monday (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Councilman Reggie Gaffney filed a bill Monday to allocate $3 million for struggling families in the Jacksonville area and to continue the fight to decrease violence across the city.

The money allocated to this funding is funded by the $73 million set aside in the Mayor’s budget from the Cares Act Funding, Gaffney said.

“I want to tell you all that help is coming,” Gaffney said. “This is probably not going to solve everybody’s problems but this is a start.”

The bill was presented to help Jacksonville residents with their light bills and rent.

Gaffney said the first $2 million would be used towards helping Jacksonville residents who are struggling to pay their JEA bills and homeowners who need help paying their rent.

Council President Sam Newby and Gaffney allocated more than $330,000 to crime prevention non-profits earlier this year in efforts to reduce violence in the community. The last million would go towards eligible non-profits to fight crime in Jacksonville, according to Gaffney.

“I’m so excited because whenever you have others — you as the council and the police — to fight crime, that’s what these dollars are going to be used for, that’s a win for this community,” Gaffney said.

Leadership from several of the nonprofit programs that submitted an application and will benefit from the new allocation spoke about their organizations at the conference as well.

“The beauty of a program like this and funding like this is the city being able to help those who are actively helping the community. There’s a difference between helping the city and helping the communities. Communities make up the city and we have the privilege of working with young people to affect the community,” E-C Weston with Exodus Film School said.

“I’m excited about the potential, the possibility. This is the step in the right direction. We’re not representing all that needs to be done but it’s at least a step in the right direction. We believe if you partner with us and Councilman Gaffney, we will be putting ourselves in the right posture and the trajectory for our future will certainly look brighter than what it has been,” Bishop Hall with the Urban Initiative said.

About the Authors:

As a proud alumnus of Bethune-Cookman University, Kendra is a Jacksonville native, who loves all things lifestyle-related.