WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County is receiving a big boost to help residents struggling to pay their bills.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., announced Friday that the county will be allocated nearly $2 million in new funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for food, shelter, rent, mortgage and utility assistance programs.
Frankel held a joint news conference with Laurie George, the president and CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County, James Green, the director of Palm Beach County Community Services Department and Seth Bernstein, the executive vice president for community investments with United Way Palm Beach County.
The funding, provided by the American Rescue Plan, will help the county's social services programs that feed, shelter, and provide other services to vulnerable populations in the community.
The United Way has been tasked with administering this funding to the organizations in the county that help those most in need.
Rental assistance has been considered the greatest need as the housing market soars.
Palm Beach County leaders have reported monthly rents are on the rise by more than 50 percent. They're worried South Florida's workforce is getting priced out.
"If we can get additional dollars in to help augment or supplement these dollars, then it'll help us to be able to provide this assistance for a little bit longer until we can really address this issue in a more systemic way," Green said.
However, the $2 million boost doesn't offer a long-term solution to the housing crisis.
"We need policies that are going to allow us to help bring about some balance to some of the significant increases that we're seeing," Green said.
County leaders are asking property owners with extra rooms or units available to consider a room-sharing program that the county is offering.
Those who are facing food and housing challenges can get help by dialing 211.