Seminole to end COVID-19 rental assistance program

Running out of money available for the program, Seminole County will stop accepting applications from residents seeking emergency help in paying their rent at 5 pm on Wednesday.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, was started in March 2021 by the county with just over $20 million it had received in federal money. It has since distributed about $19 million in rental assistance to 3,121 Seminole households struggling financially because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About $2.5 million remains in the county’s ERAP fund today.

“We are closing it because we have more applications in the queue than we have money,” said Carrie Longsworth, community assistance division manager for Seminole County.

Under the program, residents receive assistance in paying their rent and utilities for up to 18 months. To qualify, applicants must show they have a financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, instability in their housing — such as in danger of being evicted — and earn less than 80% of Seminole’s median income, which is $66,000 for a family of four.

To apply or for more information, visit https://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/economic-recovery.stml

mcomas@orlandosentinel.com

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