Rental assistance still available in SWFL as evictions loom for some

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia
Published: Updated:
For Rent sign. Photo Credit: Ed Uthman / CC BY-SA 3.0 via MGN.

There are reports that Florida has only distributed just two percent of the money the federal government’s made available for rental and mortgage assistance.

But locally, that’s not the case.

Some Florida counties are topping a list for areas not getting federal CARES Act rental assistance funds to people facing eviction.

Collier County is ranked number four nationally for unspent or re-allocated rental assistance funds as of March 31, where 69 percent of the money has not been used for rental assistance.

On July 31, the CDC lifted the eviction moratorium, so people behind on rent payments could be forced out of their homes.

There still may be help out there if you, or someone you know, is facing eviction.

Rental and mortgage assistance programs in Southwest Florida have helped hundreds of families, but millions of dollars of aid are still available.

Lee County’s got $51.7 million to hand out and still has roughly $17.5 million left to give.

The City of Fort Myers said, out of its $2.5 million there is $86,000 is still unused.

The City of Cape Coral said, out of its $1.98 million for mortgage assistance, it has $488,000 remaining.

Locally, we’ve done much better than the state as a whole.

The Florida Department of Children and Families handles rental assistance for smaller counties like Charlotte, where only 2% of $870 million of federal aid has been distributed.

So we asked Kody Glazer, the legal director of the Florida Housing Coalition, what’s taking so long?

“I just think that there’s a lot of program regulations, the federal level, they require a lot of documentation for folks. And if you’re not, you know, tech-savvy or tech literate. Maybe hard to copy documents or access that pay stub to get assistance,” Glazer explained.

That’s a long way of saying bureaucracy.

So what do you do if you get an eviction notice?

  • First of all, don’t ignore it.
  • Call your landlord.
  • See if you can work something out together.
  • If not, contact legal aid and fight to keep your home.

If you’re a single-family homeowner behind on mortgage payments and your mortgage is backed by the federal government, you still have time to get your finances in order.

The moratorium for you runs until the end of September.

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