How Do I Sign up for Florida’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program?
The information in this article is current as of February 7, 2022.
Paying bills is becoming harder and harder these days. The pandemic has left many people in Florida cities like Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, St. Petersburg, and Orlando unable to afford rent or utilities like heat and hot water. Some are even forced to look for new housing. So if you need emergency assistance with rent or are behind on utility bills due to the impact of COVID-19, it’s comforting to know help is available.
Florida’s federally-funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), OUR Florida, assists low-income families, individuals, and even landlords and utility companies with help making and receiving payments. To sign up for Florida’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), visit ourflorida.com. Then, read on to find out everything you need to know about the program, such as eligibility information and more.
What Is the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)?
First, it’s helpful to understand what the ERAP is. It’s no surprise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of Americans in rental debt. The fear of eviction is something nobody should have to face. The Emergency Rental Assistance provides funding to help those unable to pay rent or utilities. The goal is to help Americans recover and rebuild after unfortunate situations like losing their jobs due to the pandemic.
There are two different programs.
- ERA1, which began on December 27, 2020, offers up to $25 billion under the Consolidated Appropriations Act.
- ERA2, which began on March 11, 2021, offers up to $21.55 billion under the American Rescue Plan.
Funding is provided directly to states, U.S. territories, and local governments – ERA1 also assists Indian tribes. In addition, these funds are given to eligible households through newly created or existing rental assistance programs.
What Is OUR Florida?
Operated by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), OUR Florida stands for Opportunities for Utilities and Rental Assistance. Our Florida is Florida’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The program provides federal funds to Florida families and businesses seeking emergency rental or utility assistance.
First launched in May 2021, OUR Florida distributed over $858 million in federal funding to over 164,000 Florida households in need of emergency rental assistance between 2001 and 2022.
On February 3, 2022, OUR Florida was awarded $740.4 million in additional funding. This second round of Emergency Rental Assistance funded by the U.S. Treasury came just in time to help those in danger of losing their apartment or electricity.
Because so many Floridians rely on this program, OUR Florida hired 700 employees to help those needing their applications, questions, and cases.
How Do You Qualify for Florida Emergency Rental Assistance?
Renters looking for eligibility for Our Florida benefits must:
- Be low income or unemployed
- Have experienced a loss of income or financial hardship during the last year
- Be behind on rent or utility payments or at risk of falling behind.
How Do I Sign up for Florida’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)?
To sign up for emergency rental assistance, visit the OUR Florida website and complete the appropriate application.
- Eligible renters can sign up by filling out an application at ourflorida.com/applicant-assistance/renters.
- Eligible renters with past due electric or utility bills which have proof of home energy bills in the qualifying tenant’s name and address for a period after April 1, 2020, can apply by visiting ourflorida.com/applicant-assistance/utilities.
- Landlord or Property Manager seeking relief for lost rental income, including past due rent payments, can sign up at ourflorida.com/applicant-assistance/landlords.
How Much Help Does the Florida Emergency Rental Assistance Program Provide?
The amount of money and number of months Florida’s ERAP can help may vary depending on your situation.
- Qualified renters can receive up to 15 months of rent and utility payments, including 12 months of past due rent and utilities and three months of future rent payments.
- Qualified renters with past due electric or utility bills can receive payments that cover a period equal to or less than 15 months.
- Landlord or Property Manager seeking relief for lost rental income can receive up to three months of future payments not to exceed 15 months of total rental assistance.
How Do I Check the Status of My Application?
According to the program’s website, OUR Florida has accepted rental and utility assistance applications since May 17, 2021. All applications are being processed in the order in which they were received.
Make sure your application includes all the required information before you submit it. This will help ensure that it’s handled quickly and accurately.
You may check the status of your application by visiting era.ourflorida.com.
Questions About OUR Florida or ERAP
For questions about the program, you can contact OUR Florida by calling 833-493-0594, 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.
Local Florida County or City Programs
If you live in one of the following Florida cities or counties, you may be eligible for additional emergency rental assistance funding through local programs.
Tampa – City
Miami – City
Hialeah – City
Orlando – City
Palm Beach County
St. Petersburg – City
St. Johns County
St. Lucie County
Port St. Lucie – City
More Help Is Available
If you qualify for emergency rental assistance, you may also be eligible for help with your wireless service.
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