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DeSantis working to assist unemployed with additional benefits, extended eviction moratorium

Reporter: Gail Levy
Published: Updated:

Many of you are out of work as a result of the pandemic and have relied on $600 a week unemployment checks to help you make ends meet. But more financial support is on the way.

Losing that check was a crushing blow for tens of thousands of people in Southwest Florida. State unemployment benefits come nowhere close to paying the rent, buying food, medicine and other essentials.

In July, the president signed an executive order giving the states a lifeline — $300 a week in federal benefits for those out of work. All they had to do was apply. Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday Florida will do just that, but who can get this money?

“So the people that are still eligible for the state will still get the state. If that is expired, then you will get the $300 as a federal supplement and our hope is, is that we’re able to do that retroactively to the beginning of August and hopefully just payout, like, a lump sum for that time coming forward,” DeSantis said.

So far, the Trump Administration has approved 35 states for this funding. We meet people every day who are out of work and need a boost.

“I anticipated I’d be back to work by now. So now without that additional money, I’m really just bare-bones,” said Bonnie Armstrong.

The governor has also offered some hope to people who are behind on the mortgage or rent.

The deadline for our state’s eviction moratorium is approaching but DeSantis says he’s working on a solution.

For months, people have lived on edge, wondering if this month will be the one they get kicked out of their home. Unemployment is up, prices are high and money is tight.

On Friday, DeSantis signaled he’s likely going to give people more time to catch up on their bills, including rent and mortgage, by extending the eviction moratorium.

The current moratorium is set to expire on Tuesday. We’ve talked with many of you on the brink of losing your homes during the pandemic.

“Back in March, both of us lost our jobs. We had no wages to pay anything. We had to wait on the stimulus check for quite a while. When the stimulus check did come through, we paid March and April’s rent with it and that left us some for food and essentials,” explained renter, Alexx Thompson.

“I would never want somebody who is actually in distress or actually in a financial situation because of COVID-19 not to be taken care of or taken seriously because they are suffering,” said property owner, Jessica DeGaetani. “But that being said, that doesn’t excuse the people that are taking advantage of it.”

Property owners are hurting too, but they’ll have to wait to see if the governor does, indeed, extend the moratorium.