Collier County expanding program to help people pay rent, mortgage, utility bills

Reporter: Lauren Leslie Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Collier County has expanded its rent and utility assistance program to help people struggling to pay for rent or utilities.

If you live in Collier County and are behind on your rent or mortgage because of COVID-19, help is on the way.

Beginning at noon on Thursday, applications will open for the community assistance program. If accepted, you could receive up to $25,000 in relief.

“We are expecting that there will be a real need, a real influx of applications because normally a lot of assistance programs applied to our lower-income households,” said Collier Community & Human Services Manager of Operations Maggie Lopez.

COVID-19 did not discriminate. Working individuals and families were impacted, and the Collier County Board of Commissioners took note.

$7 million is available to help pay past due rent, mortgages, or one-time utility bills.

To qualify, you will need to prove your residency, that COVID-19 caused financial strain and that your income is between 81% and 140% of area median income.

Or, in other words, “A family of four can have a household income of up to $118,000,” said Lopez.

The program is the only one covering mortgage instability or relief for homeowners. “Many people who are working professionals such as nurses, some of them you would think are working around the clock but many of them have had reduction in hours, reduction of their income that they are bringing in,” said Lopez.

Another way fraud is prevented is by having payments made directly to lenders or landlords.

Homeowners who are accepted will have to participate in financial counseling to receive assistance.

If you want to apply for the program, you can do so by clicking here.

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