Pinellas County ERAP Updates - Expanded Eligibility

Posted By: Eric Garduño COVID Rental Assistance ,
Pinellas County has recently made important changes to its Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), that provides rental and utility assistance to residents who have suffered a financial hardship during COVID-19.
Key changes include:
Application Changes
  • Self Attestation – self attestation for both the economic hardship and housing instability requirements for tenant applications will now be accepted (previously residents had to provide documentation of loss of job or income); self attestation for no income will also now be accepted.
  • ID – identification no longer required for minors.
  • Utility assistance – utilities assistance no longer require a shut-off notice to expedite processing of requests.
Process Changes
  • Landlord Hotline - when a landlord calls the main ERAP number, 855-379-3515, you will have the option to press 1 to indicate you are a landlord. These calls will be routed to a select group of reviewers who specialize in addressing landlord questions.
  • Direct Resident Payments – Landlords will be contacted three times within five days. If the landlord is unresponsive or refuses to participate, rental payments can be made directly to residents.
  • Evictions – households with an eviction filed in court and who are working with a legal aid group (Bay Area Legal Services, Community Law Program/Pinellas Eviction Diversion Program, Gulfcoast Legal Services) will receive priority processing.  It is still unclear how much quicker processing will be at this time.
  • Previous Denials – applications that were previously denied assistance because they didn't provide required documentation will be reexamined under the new guidelines to determine eligibility.
  • Length of Assistance – total months of assistance increased from 12 to 18 months.
  • Eligibility of Homeless – the homeless population are eligible for rental assistance, including both rent arrears and future rental assistance. Upon approval, the tenant will receive a Certification of Eligibility letter which they can show a prospective landlord that they will receive assistance for future months rent.
More on Evictions
  • If you are considering filing an eviction, BAAA members may want to consider reaching out to one of the area’s legal aid providers first. Legal aid providers have access to the system that processes rental assistance applications. They can troubleshoot issues like incorrect contact/information on file for landlords, provide the status of rental assistance applications, and work with you and your resident(s) to complete any missing information. You can reach these legal aid providers by sending an email to the following: