Brevard County opens applications for $18 million COVID-19 rental assistance program
Brevard County has opened up its application process for a new federally funded emergency rental assistance program for residents negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brevard County Housing and Human Services Director Ian Golden said the program offers a range of financial assistance and “housing stability services.” These include help with rent; rental arrears; utilities and home energy costs; utilities and home energy costs arrears; and other expenses related to housing incurred because of the pandemic.
In all, the county received $18.18 million for the program from the federal government.
Stacey Patel, founder of the Coronavirus Mutual Aid Network of Brevard County Florida Facebook group, which has about 11,400 members, said there is “a significant need in the county” for this type of program, as many people are having difficulty with their rent and utility bills.
“These challenges are real for many folks,” Patel said.
Assistance is available to households whose income is at or below 80% of area median income. That is $38,750 for a family of one, $44,300 for a family of two, $49,850 for a family of three, and $55,350 for a family of four.
“We know the pandemic has been a strain on families,” Brevard County Communications Director Don Walker said. “Our main concern is to get the assistance into the hands of people as quickly as possible.”
Applications for the program will be available at:
- All 17 Brevard County public libraries and the Law Library.
- On the Brevard County Housing and Human Services Department’s website at https://www.brevardfl.gov/HousingAndHumanServices
- Through an online system at https://brevardflhhs.seamlessdocs.com/f/EmergencyRentalAssistance
Golden said, to be eligible, in addition to the income requirement, applicants must:
- Be a resident of Brevard County.
- Sign all required documents (including application, Social Security number waiver, release/request of information).
- Document all income from the entire household, as reported on the household income section of the application, including two months of bank statements and pay stubs; or a 2020 Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 tax return.
- Account for all members of a household in the application.
- Have a clear and legible application, if filled out by hand.
Failure to provide all documentation will result in the denial of assistance.
Priority for the assistance program will be given to:
- Households that do not exceed 50% of the area median income for the household’s size.
- Households in which one or more people are unemployed as of the date of the application and have not been employed for the previous 90 days.
Under the program, a landlord can submit an application on behalf of a tenant.
The payments will be made directly to the landlord or the utility provider on behalf of the eligible household.
If assistance is needed to fill out the eight-page application, applicants can call 321-633-2007.
Patel said she hopes to process gives applicants quick decisions, and does not have the complex application process that some people found with a previous county program to aid individuals and families negatively impacted financially by COVID-19.
The previous program was part of a multifaceted county program funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Dave Berman is government editor at FLORIDA TODAY.