Resident Resources During COVID-19
Due to the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19, federal, state, and local governments have developed many assistance programs for those affected by the virus. In an effort to assist residents, we have provided a brief overview of some federal, state, and local programs aimed to assist residents who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package containing a host of tax and economic provisions intended to help both businesses and individuals. To learn more about the CARES Act, please take a look at this FAQ.
Direct Cash Payments Every American with a valid Social Security number making less than $75,000 a year ($150,000 for married couples) will receive $1,200 each, and an additional $500 for each child. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 a year, will receive a partial payment. Your income levels will be based on your 2018 tax return, or your 2019 tax return if you’ve already filed this year. To find out how much you may receive, please click here.
The IRS launched a new online portal — Get Your Payment — where you can obtain information about the status of your payment and provide your banking information in a safe and secure manner so the IRS can make your payment via direct deposit.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance This program expands upon the state’s unemployment benefits. States may administer an additional $600 weekly payment to eligible people who are receiving regular unemployment benefits. It also provides payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (ie. self-employed, independent contractors, limited work history) who are now unable to work as a direct result of the COVID-19 health emergency. In order to apply for these benefits you must first apply for regular unemployment through the State of Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program. To apply for Florida’s Reemployment Assistance, please click here. To learn more about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, please visit the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak page.
Federal Aid for Small Businesses
- Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters in order to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster-damaged property. For more information, please click here.
- Paycheck Protection Program provides loans up to $10 million to assist with job retention and is available for small businesses and other eligible organizations as well as those who are self-employed and independent contractors.
- Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit for employers who kept their employees on the payroll, despite economic hardship caused by COVID-19. The tax credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to an employee, with the maximum credit being $5,000 per employee.
Note: The SBA announced the following statement on April 16th, "SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding." This announcement also includes the Paycheck Protection Program. On April 24th, Congress replenished the EIDL program and the Paycheck Protection Program.
Reemployment Assistance provides financial assistance and reemployment services to those unemployed in the State of Florida. Please click here to learn more about Reemployment Assistance. To apply for Florida’s Reemployment Assistance, please click here.*
*Unfortunately, due to current circumstances, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has reported issues with filing initial claims because the agency's online system keeps crashing and the call center is overloaded. In response to these issues, the DEO has allowed residents to download the application from the agency's site and mail it in. Residents can also go to CareerSource locations, which provide the applications and assist them with submitting it. To find your local CareerSource Center, please click here. FedEx is also offering free printing and mailing of the forms at more than 100 storefronts across the state.
Note: The Governor issued Executive Order 20-104 on April 16th, which suspended the biweekly reporting of "actively seeking work" requirement for claimants of unemployment benefits. Those who have obtained unemployment benefits from the State of Florida to do not have to fullfill the traditional requirement of reporting their search for employment to the state until the expiration of Executive Order 20-52.
Short Time Compensation
Short-Time Compensation (STC) permits pro-rated Reemployment Assistance benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a STC plan to avoid total layoff of some employees. Please click here to learn more.
Small Business Assistance
- Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan assists small business owners located in all Florida counties that have experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time an emergency strikes and the time a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.
Note: As of April 15, the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program no longer has funds to provide futher loans. This will be updated should more funds become available.
- Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI) announced on April 6 that it will suspend initial fees for its Microfinance Guarantee Program to support Florida’s small business community impacted by COVID-19. EFI manages the Microfinance Guarantee Program designed to stimulate access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state by providing targeted loan guarantees to lenders made to such entrepreneurs and small businesses. This program provides guarantees up to 50% on loans of $250,000 or less.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- On April 30, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Department of Children and Families announced that the SNAP recipients' maximum montly allotment will be increased for the month of May. Please click here to access this press release.
Florida Housing Finance Corporation
- Florida Housing Finance Corporation announced on May 7th that local governments will be receiving $5 million through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) to assist families impacted by COVID-19 with housing assitance and resources. To view this announcement, please click here.
Local Government Programs and Other Local Assistance Resources
- Apartment Association of Greater Orlando Foundation Industry Relief Fund
- The Fund will provide one-time, $500 grants, to industry employees who apply and demonstrate financial need as outlined in their guidelines. To learn more, please click here.
- Brevard County Coronavirus Rental Assistance Program
- Brevard County has set up a rental and mortgage assistance program aimed at helping residents facing financial hardship due to the pandemic. The program will provide eligible applicants up to three months of rent or mortgage payments. Please click here to learn more.
- Citrus County Eviction Prevention Program
- Citrus County Housing Services has implemented an Eviction Prevention Program to assist very low-income and low-income residents impacted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please click here to learn more.
- Davie Rental Eviction Prevention Program
- The COVID-19 Rental Eviction Prevention Program provides one-time rental and utilities assistance to eligible Town of Davie residents who have experienced loss of income, reduction in hours, or unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic only. Please click here to learn more.
- Fort Myers Temporary Rental and Utility Assistance
- It is designed to assist households below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). Participants must provide proof that their hardship is due to the pandemic. The funds will provide up to $750 per month for three months for rent and utility payment assistance and foreclosure counseling. To learn more, please click here.
- Fort Lauderdale Rental Assistance
- Fort Lauderdale's Housing & Community Development Office is now offering rental assistance to eligible Fort Lauderdale residents experiencing job loss due to COVID 19. Please click here to learn more.
- Gainesville GNVCARES Program
- This program is designed to assist households who are in the extremely-low, very-low, low, and moderate income categories that were financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic with temporary rent/mortgage and utility payments for up to 6 months, not to exceed $2,500. Please click here to learn more.
- Hialeah Landlord-Tenant Relief Fund
- Provides $1,000 to residents of Hialeah who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. The program will provide money to residents for up to 3 months. Please click here to learn more.
- Hialeah Save our Business Fund
- This fund will provide $2 million to aid business owners with financial relief. The “Landlord-Tenant Relief Fund” will provide $1 million to help residents pay their rent in order to stay in their homes.
- Hillsborough County Rapid Response Recovery Assistance Program (R3)
- This program is available to help residents who meet certain criteria with past-due utility, rent, and mortgage bills. Any resident in Hillsborough County, including those residing in Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace, who has seen a reduction in or loss of wages resulting from layoff or lessening of hours due to COVID-19, but who wouldn't have qualified for assistance prior to the pandemic, is eligible to apply. To find out more, please click here.
- Homestead Rental & Utilities Assistance Grant Program
- This program is designed to provide residents who reside within the community redevelopment Agency (CRA) boundaries with a one-time assistance of up to $1,500 for one month’s rent and utilities costs. Please click here to learn more.
- Homestead Small Business Emergency Recovery Grant
- The purpose of this one-time grant is to serve as gap funding until the business owner is able to receive a Small Business Administration and/or Bridge Loan, Payroll Protection Program funding or funds from other sources. The CRA will assist eligible small businesses with a grant of up to $5,000 for COVID relief assistance. Please click here to learn more.
- Jacksonville Stimulus Relief Program
- This program contains $40 million in direct stimulus for individuals to aid mortgage, rent and utility payments . It will provide $1,000 in relief for 40,000 households who meet certain criteria. To learn more, please click here.
Note: No new applications for Jacksonville's Stimulus Package will be accepted at this time. On May 26th, the city council voted to replenish the program with an additional $5 million.
- Jacksonville Business Relief Package
The city is setting up a financial relief package that will give $2,000 grants to 4,500 local small businesses, self-employed workers and sole proprietors. Businesses must employ fewer than 100 people and have lost as much as 25 percent of their revenue since February. The city expanded eligibility to sole proprietors or people who receive a 1099 tax form. The grants will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Business owners will apply for the money on a website that is yet to be launched. Please click here to learn more.
- Kissimmee Business Assistance Program
- To provide immediate financial relief to the City of Kissimmee businesses during the COVID-19 health crisis, the City will waive all permitting, plan review, and inspections fees related to Building Permits within City limits starting on Friday, May 1, 2020, for the next 120-days. Please click here to learn more.
- Kissimmee Rental Assistance Program
- The city of Kissimmee established a program to provide rental assistance to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here to learn more.
Note: No new applications for Kissimee's Rental Assistance Program can be started at this time.
- Lee County CARES Program
- Payments will be made directly to the landlord, mortgage company and/or utility company. Household income must be less than $55,000/year at time of application. Applicants must have had a loss of employment or reduced work hours due to COVID-19. Applications begin on May 26th. Please click here to learn more.
- Lee County Small Business Relaunch Program
- Intended to help offset the unintended costs of reopening or relaunching a small business as a result of being directly affected by Governor DeSantis’ Safer at Home Act. Funds can only be used to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures that are not covered by insurance or another federal program. Businesses must have 25 or fewer employees, and the business owner must be a Lee County resident. Applications begin on May 26th. Please click here to learn more.
- Marion County Community Services Assistance
- Marion County Community Services is providing rental and mortgage payment assistance to residents financially impacted by COVID-19. May provide temporary future rent payments for up to three months for tenants financially impacted by COVID-19. Please click here to learn more.
- Miami-Dade County's Unlawful Retaliation Against Employees Ordinance
- This section protects non-essential employees from retaliatory measures such as termination or demotion when that employee is complying with county executive orders during a state of local emergency. If you would like to view this section of Miami-Dade County's code of ordinances, please click here.
- Miami-Dade Housing Assistance Network of Dade Program (HAND)
- This program Program launched a Rental Assistance Portal on May 27th, specifically geared toward helping individuals and families impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. A household may be eligible to receive COVID-19 rental assistance for past due rent, current rent due, and rent for upcoming months. Please click here to learn more.
- Miami's Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program
- If you own a business that was deemed “unessential” with 5 or less employees, you may be eligible for up to $10,000 in forgivable loans. To learn more please click here.
Note: As of May 4th, the city is no longer accepting applications for their micro-enterprise assistance program.
- Miami's Emergency Rentals and Utilities Assistance Program
- If a resident lost their job due to COVID-19, the city will provide a one-time payment up to $1.5k on behalf of residents directly to landlords and utility companies. Please click here to learn more.
Note: As of May 4th, the city is no longer accepting applications for their rental assistance program.
- Miramar Rent and Utilities Assistance
- The City will make rent or utility payments of up to $7,000 for income-eligible households with no repayment required during the coronavirus pandemic. The program is limited to Miramar residents who earn up to 80 percent of the area median income based on household size. The city said it will begin accepting applications May 22. Please click here to learn more.
- Okaloosa County Small Business Recovery Grant Program
- Okaloosa County, in partnership with the Florida SBDC at UWF, has created a Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Grant Program to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. In order to qualify the business must be a for-profit, privately-held small business that maintains a storefront location in Okaloosa County and/or the City of Fort Walton Beach. Applications open May 26th. Please click here to learn more.
- Orange County's Rental Assistance Program
- The rental assistance program will provide those that apply and qualify with one month's rent. In order to qualify, the resident must have experienced financial hardship from an "unforeseen event." To learn more about this program, please click here.
Note: As of April 1st, Orange County is no longer accepting applications for the Rental Assistance Program.
- Orange County Small Business Fund
- The program will provide one-time grants of $10,000 to qualifying businesses to cover normal business expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30 such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent. The money is expected to benefit 6,500 small businesses in Orange County. Must be a brick-and-mortar Orange County business with no more than 25 employees. The Application period begins June 8. Please click here to learn more.
- Osceola County Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance
- This program provides financial assistance to families in need. Please click here to learn more.
Note: The emergency rental & mortgage assistance screening form has reached its limit of submissions and is closed for further entries at this time.
One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together Fund
- The City of Tampa has established the Relief Now, Rise Together Fund to provide financial relief to eligible small businesses, families, and individuals negatively impacted by local COVID-19 orders. For eligible applicants, the program will provide direct payments for up to one month’s rent or mortgage plus one or more essential utility costs (water, gas, electric). To learn more about this program, please click here.
Note: The City of Tampa is no longer accepting applications for the One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together Fund.
- Palm Beach County CARES Restart Business Grants Program
- Palm Beach County has set aside $60 million to help businesses through the CARES Restart Business Grants Program. Businesses may be eligible to receive grant funds & forgivable loans to help lessen the financial burden suffered due to COVID-19. Each business can get up to $25,000. Please click here to learn more.
- Pasco CARES
- This program will provide economic support to Pasco County residents who have suffered employment or business interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is designed to help with rent or mortgage payments, utility and phone bills, car payments, and Property Association fees for homeowners. To learn more, please click here.
Note: Due to the overwhelming response, the Pasco CARES application is now closed. Please continue to monitor their webpage for any updates.
- Pembroke Pines Emergency Rent and Utilities Fund
- Pembroke Pines has established a fund to provide past due rent and utility payment relief for residents who are impacted by COVID-19 with a maximum benefit of $5,000 per household. Click here for more information.
- Pinellas County CARES Small Business Grants
- Pinellas County has initially identified up to $35 million in emergency relief funds to support
the small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will offer one-time $5,000 grants to qualifying small businesses to cover expenses such as employee wages, vendor bills and rent. Please click here to learn more.
- Pinellas County has initially identified up to $35 million in emergency relief funds to support
- Pinellas County CARES Financial Assistance
- The program will provide up to $4,000 to adults and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 for one-time assistance to pay necessary expenses, such as rent and utilities. To learn more, please click here.
- Polk County Business and Rental Assistance
- Qualified Polk County residents and small business owners may now apply online for financial assistance through Polk’s portion of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant. The online application process will require residents and business owners to fill out a form, and attach verifying documentation with the application. For more information, please click here.
- Port St. Lucie Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program
- In response to the substantial financial hardships of COVID-19, the city is providing an Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program. Assistance is limited to a one-time payment equal to a maximum of 2 months' rent, not to exceed $3,000. Please click here to learn more.
- Seminole County
- The Division of Community Assistance offers financial help to Seminole County residents who have experienced an unexpected financial hardship for Rent, Mortgage, Utilities (Electric, Water & Gas) and for Rental & Utility Security Deposits. Please click here for more information.
Note: the County is no longer accepting applications for their relief program.
- St. Johns County Small Back to Business Grant Program
- The goal of this County grant program is to help offset the temporary loss of revenue and help keep our small businesses open during and after this global pandemic by providing emergency funding for qualified local businesses. St. Johns County businesses may apply to the program for up to $5,000 in emergency grant funding. For more information, please visit the Business Assistance page.
- St. Lucie County Emergency Rental Services
- Emergency services are being offered to income-eligible households who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19. Applicants must have sustained a loss in employment income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Priority will be given to households with a complete loss of income. To learn more, please click here.
- St. Petersburg Fighting Chance Fund
- The Fighting Chance Fund will provide $5,000 grants for local businesses, while employees who have been laid-off or furloughed during the pandemic may receive up to $500 in aid.
- Tamarac 2020 SHIP Temporary Mortgage Rent and Utility Payment Assistance
- The purpose of this program is to provide emergency assistance to families impacted by COVID-19. Forms of assistance include mortgage, rent, and utility payments. Applicants must have verifiable and documented income hardship. The eligible housing units must be located within the City of Tamarac. Assistance will be provided for up to 3 months and will not exceed $5,000.
- University of North Florida Student Emergency Relief Fund
- The University of North Florida community has committed almost $700,000 in direct funds for the University of North Florida’s Student Emergency Relief Fund. The fund provides scholarships to students facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. To learn more, please click here.
- Volusia County's Rental Assistance
- Volusia County will accept applications from households that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Rental assistance may be provided to eligible households for up to three months. To learn more, please click here.
West Palm Beach COVID-19 Rental Eviction Protection Program
- The COVID-19 Rental Eviction Prevention Program provides one-time rental assistance to eligible West Palm Beach residents who have experienced loss of income, reduction in hours, or unemployment as a result of the COVID-19. Please click here to learn more.
Another Round Another Rally
Another Round Another rally provides grants to chefs, servers, bartenders, dishwashers, sommeliers, managers or someone who holds any other type of hospitality role, they may be able to help. Another Round Another Rally is offering $500 relief grants for hospitality workers who lost their jobs or had their hours slashed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. To apply for a grant, please click here.
Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
- The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program provides relief to bartenders and others in the service industry who have been affected by COVID-19. To learn more, please click here.
- Feeding America is providing emergency food banks for people affected by COVID-19. To find your local distribution center please click here.
Golden Rule Charity
- The Golden Rule Charity provides grants to hospitality workers in need. To learn more, please click here.
Resident Relief Foundation
- The Resident Relief Foundation provides rental assistance for residents who are facing eviction for the first time. Please click here for more information.
Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
- The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund helps restaurant industry employees who are experiencing hardship as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, whether it was through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. If you would like to donate to this fund or learn more about it, please click here.
United Way Fund
- United Way assists local organizations in helping those affected by COVID-19. United Way has local organizations with local funds all across the state. To find your local United Way, please click here.
- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) Fund. The ALICE Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness.
- Comcast is providing free internet access for low-income customers
- Xfinity will refrain from charging late fees or disconnecting service for customers that call and let them know they cannot pay their bills during this time.
- Spectrum will not charge late fees or terminate service for households and small business customers affected by COVID-19 financially.
- Mediacom will not disconnect service or assess late fees to any customer who calls and informs the company that they cannot pay their bill during this period.
- COX has pledged that for 60 days through May 15, they will waive late fees and won’t terminate service for residential and small business customers affected financially by COVID-19.
- AT&T will waive late fees and won’t terminate service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.