Charlotte County launches Eviction Diversion Program

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Eviction protection

The Charlotte CARES Act Eviction Diversion program was designed to prevent mass evictions across Charlotte County. It will be launching Monday, November 2.

If you applied for CARES Act funding and were approved but still face hardship, namely eviction, you can register for additional funding through this program. You may receive up to an additional $5,000 through the Eviction Diversion Program.

The important part that Charlotte Counties officials want to stress is getting to people before they are evicted. “This is a public health emergency, but really the roots of this are financial and economic,” said Charlotte County Human Services Director Carrie Walsh.

With the holidays coming up, it won’t be the same this year for Pamela Thompson’s family. Like many families across the country, they’ve lost income due to the pandemic. “I feel like I count every penny now because I have to know where it is all going,” Thompson said, of Port Charlotte.

She’s trying her best to save but every penny she has right now is going to bills, and not even all of those will get paid. Thompson says she has received some financial help from the CharlotteCARES Program but that still wasn’t enough to cover everything.

“It is a lot of stress and not knowing from day today whether you’re going to have a home,” Pamela said.

This year, The Thompsons don’t want much under their tree. They’d rather have a roof over their heads and hope in their hearts that better days are coming. “Because if I lose that, I lose everything,” said Thompson.

Landlords must agree not to seek eviction for nonpayment once they receive a receipt for past due rent. They also must also waive any fines and fees that exceed the maximum award of $5,000.

CARES Act funding must be used to pay past-due rent related to the economic impacts of COVID-19 for clients and landlords alike.

Without this program, Charlotte County Officials say they could see a spike in evictions.

Charlotte County Human Services and Housing Services staff will be contacting families in affordable housing who are behind on rent and tracking occupancy on other affordable housing units.

“You would see an influx of people facing homelessness, that impacts not only mental health, but also physical health,” Walsh said.

Landlords and management companies will submit their list of tenants in affordable units with delinquent rent, which will be compared to the Charlotte CARES list of assisted clients to avoid duplication. Human Services staff will work with management companies to determine how far behind clients may be in rent payments, disclose CARES Act funding and track their eligibility.

Just as landlords, management companies must agree not to seek eviction once receipts are received. And, they cannot add fees or fines exceeding $5,000 for those who previously received funding and $8,000 for those who did not.

The program runs until Monday, November 16.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.