Tenants can now get $8,300 in relief, but funds are going fast – Sun Sentinel


BROWARD COUNTY — Broward County just made it easier than ever for tenants to receive thousands of dollars in financial assistance — but they’ll soon have to apply because the money is quickly disappearing.

To address soaring rents across the region, the Broward County Family Success Division has expanded its Emergency Rent Assistance Program to cover three months’ rent for those facing rent increases. that they cannot afford. The average amount a tenant receives is $8,300.

“Basically we’re trying to make sure people don’t get evicted and lose their homes,” Commissioner Broward Nan Rich said. “Because the truth is there’s very little out there when someone is looking for accommodation right now.”

The county used the first $53 million it received from the US Treasury Department for the rental assistance program, and is now drawing down a second $22 million. Since May 16, the county has spent $3.5 million.

The money may run out sooner this time due to changes that make it both more plentiful and accessible to renters who didn’t qualify before.

The county will continue to provide initial assistance of up to 18 months’ rent to people with demonstrated financial hardship due to COVID-19. But it adds a separate pathway to help those who experienced rent increases during the COVID-19 period beginning March 13, 2020, whether or not they were directly impacted by the pandemic.

The county is currently reviewing former rental assistance applicants who did not qualify for the original assistance to see if they qualify under these new guidelines.

If an applicant qualifies, the county will cover three months’ rent in full, rather than just paying the difference, another change from the original policy.

So if a plaintiff paid $1,000 and received a notice of increase to $1,500, the county will now pay them $4,500, covering three months of the increased rent amount.

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Tenants can apply for this assistance themselves without their landlords having to apply for it as well.

All applicants must still have a household income at or below 80% of the median income for the area, which means one-person households must not earn more than $50,800 and four-person households must not not earn more than $72,550 to be eligible.

After applying, tenants can expect to wait about three to four weeks to receive financial assistance, although wait times will likely increase as the county reviews more applications.

So far, the county has received 1,400 additional applications since the new funding was announced last month. This, in addition to existing applications, means that they currently have a total of 1,951 applications pending review, which they will prioritize as needed.

Renters can apply online at https://www.broward.org/RentAssistance and direct questions to 954-831-3727.

It’s unclear when or if the county will receive more money for rent assistance once the $22 million runs out.

“If people are in need, I would encourage them to apply as soon as possible,” said Natalie Beasley, deputy director of the county’s Family Success Division and program manager. “Once we run out of funding, that’s all there will be for now.”


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