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Martin County using $1.75 million in CARES Act money to help residents in need

Money will help with mortgage, rent, or utility payments, officials say
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Posted at 3:45 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 18:02:14-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — This week, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River counties have all announced new grant programs to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, we're also seeing relief efforts for individuals.

Like many, Inez Pardo of Palm City has turned to the House Of Hope in Martin County, an organization empowering residents to overcome hardship.

"It's super helpful, especially since losing work hours," Pardo said.

"Keep family whole, keep lights on, keep food on table," said Rob Raineri, the CEO of the House Of Hope. "We can do everything they need to help them get through this crisis."

Ranieri said their client load has doubled compared to last year, and that means double the food distribution.

"There’s people coming through here that probably in their worst nightmare didn't think they’d need support from a place like us," Ranieri said.

Now, the House Of Hope is working with the Salvation Army to help determine who might qualify for Martin County’s new COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The county is getting $1.75 million in CARES Act funds to help residents in need.

The money is available to residents on a one-time basis. They can get up to $5,000 to help with mortgage, rent, or utility payments.

"I think, for us, that’s amazing as a community," said Carol Houwaart-Diez, the president of the United Way of Martin County.

Houwaart-Diez said the income levels to qualify for help here are much higher.

"For a family of four, you’re talking a current income of $83,000, about $83,000," Houwaart-Diez said.

Houwaart-Diez said their biggest obstacle may be getting people to accept the help.

"When you’re used to taking care of yourself and you figure, oh, I can do this, I can do that, it’s okay to ask for help when it’s being offered," Houwaart-Diez said.

For more information on Martin County's COVID-19 Relief Fund, call 772-283-4800 or click here.