Existing clients and prospective applications to the county’s LeeCARES Emergency Rental Assistance Program have two weeks to finalize and submit applications before the program begins winding down.
The state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program remains available for applicants.
The county’s program was launched on Feb. 16, 2021 under the umbrella of LeeCARES. It provided access to more than $41 million in federal grants to help households that are unable to pay rent and utilities because of the pandemic.
Of that, about $28 million has been paid out, according to a Lee County press release.
The remaining amount will be dispersed between May and the end of the county’s fiscal year in September.
The county is asking anyone who wants to apply to complete their application by May 16.
Applicants, however, can continue applying with the state.
Throughout the program’s existence, ongoing rent and utilities assistance has existed for those who have ongoing need.
The May 16 deadline does not impact this; the recertification process for additional funding for rent and utilities of existing clients will continue until July 31 with payments processed through the end of September.
To complete an application or begin a new one before the deadline, visit www.LeeFLCares.com or to apply through the state program, visit https://era.ourflorida.com/. City of Fort Myers residents should visit https://portal.neighborlysoftware.com/erap-fortmyers/participant to complete applications by May. 16.
In accordance with federal guidelines, the program is only for those who rent, not homeowners. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email address is monitored continuously; questions must be submitted via email.
U.S. Treasury guidelines require that applicants fall at or below 80% of Area Median Income and demonstrate a significant loss of income due to or during the COVID-19 pandemic to qualify.
Prior to the 2021 launch of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, the Lee Board of County Commissioners had distributed more than $60 million of direct community aid through COVID-19 pandemic relief.