With so many jobs and establishments closed to help curb the spread of COVID-19, many people left without work may have experienced difficulties paying their monthly rent and mortgages. Announced on Thursday morning by Governor Ron DeSantis, housing and rental assistance in Florida will be available to people impacted by the pandemic to keep roofs over their heads. Nearly $5 million in funding would be distributed to families in need, with applications currently being accepted on an on-going basis.

Eligibility for assistance is income-based, and the Florida Housing Finance Corporation provides a link to check if you qualify.

Terms, qualifications for assistance, and what types of situations will warrant help vary on a county to county basis. Those seeking aid can find out more about their specific application terms by inputting their county info on Florida Housing's website.

Each county breakdown will provide different contact information, a link to determine if you're eligible, and where to go if you qualify.

Situations where funds may be available to Floridians include foreclosure prevention assistance for homeowners and renters, special needs situations, and the covering of closing costs for homebuyers.

The $5 million housing stimulus will be provided to local governments through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program, which usually helps impacted areas after a natural disaster.

“Because COVID-19 has impacted Florida as a whole, Florida Housing is accelerating this release of available disaster recovery funds to eligible SHIP [State Housing Initiatives Partnership] counties and cities,” Trey Price, executive director of Florida Housing, told Tampa Bay 10.

State leaders informed Tampa Bay 10 that funds did not have to be used for disaster relief this year, freeing them up to help renters and homeowners during the pandemic.

“Families can take comfort knowing the additional funding to local government housing offices will be quickly distributed to help keep a roof over Floridian’s heads,” said Governor DeSantis.

Florida Housing will have more information, eligibility requirements, and contact resources available for residents.

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