Emergency Rental Assistance Updates - Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Sarasota
Changes and Additional Information Available for Several Programs
There are several updates regarding Emergency Rental Assistance Programs (ERAP)s in our region. Recall, these programs are designed to help residents who have experienced (or are experiencing) a hardship due to the COVID-19 and who are behind on their rent (or are at risk of falling behind). Eligibility for all programs require households to be at or below 80% of Area Median income based on household size.
On Wednesday, May 12, at 11AM, the Pinellas County ERAP will host a landlord and property manager webinar on their program. While the County provided an overview of the program before its launch, this webinar is designed to explain each step of the landlord application and answer any questions landlords have in using the system. Below is a link to register for this event, as well as a flyer and sample social media post you can use to promote the program.
The Hillsborough County ERAP has updated its rules regarding assistance available to eligible residents in the following ways:
- Eliminating the $7,500 cap on assistance and now covering the full amount of outstanding rent;
- The program can cover 12 months of past due rent and up to 3 months of prospective rent.
Additionally, Hillsborough County has provided the following flyer and sample social media post you can use to promote the program.
This is a reminder that the Pasco HEART Program has a landlord liaison, Kelly Miller, who can work with you to get residents at your community through the application process. You can reach Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with the application process. Additionally, the Pasco HEART Program has updated its Release of Information document for residents and has provided slides from a partner webinar that includes several detailed FAQs that explain how the program works. These, along with the Landlord and Tenant application packets are available below.
The Sarasota County ERAP program launched on May 4, 2021. Like other programs, both residents and landlords each have application materials to complete, all of which are being processed online through the County's Neighborly program. Sarasota's ERAP may provide eligible residents with assistance covering up to 12 months of past due rent, and up to 3 months of prospective rent. in addition to the below Tenant Application Checklist, the County website provides detailed Information on the application process AVAILABLE HERE.
Our Florida Program (Statewide ERAP)
Last week, the Florida Apartment Association announced that the State of Florida will soon launch its own ERAP titled Opportunities for Utilities and Rental Assistance Florida, or “OUR Florida” Program. The OUR Florida website is live but has not started taking applications. The program will use similar eligibility requirements as other ERAP programs (i.e., must be able to document a COVID hardship, 80% AMI for household size). There are, however, some key points specific to this program to keep in mind:
- Rental assistance is capped at $2,000/month, and $15,000 overall;
- Applications will be accepted across Florida, even from Counties/Cities that have their own ERAPs;
- Applications will be accepts for residents who have received assistance through local ERAPs, however the assistance provided by the Our Florida cannot cover months of assistance already covered by another ERAP program;
- Landlords may apply on behalf of residents if residents sign-off and landlords provide the required resident documentation.
We will provide further updates on this program as it is rolled out. In the meantime, please visit the Our Florida website to read more about program details.