WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County is paying out millions of dollars to help tenants and landlords weather the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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Palm Beach County Community Services Department hosted a landlord information session via Zoom Thursday detailing the resources and help for tenants being made available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which is funded through the government.
"We are only providing assistance for renters who are living in a residential dwelling," said James Green, director of the county's community services department. "They can receive help with rent and utilities."
The county said it was awarded $45.2 million in funding to help renters still struggling.
To qualify, you must prove the following:
- Your salary has been cut directly or indirectly by the virus
- You must show a risk of homelessness and housing instability
- Your salary needs to be at or below 80 percent of the area median income
"If you're one person in the household, you can make up to $49,200. If you have four people in the household, then all of the adults in the household can earn up to $70,250," Green said.
If residents qualified for unemployment, Green said they are still eligible, and the county will prioritize people at 50 percent or lower of the area median income.
The CDC's eviction moratorium has been extended until June 30, 2021, but the renter's obligation to pay rent is not excused or waived, so landlords are encouraged to register as a vendor with the county.
"You're going to get a vendor number or vendor code that needs to be used once your tenant actually applies for the rental assistance," the county said.
Since the ERA Program started in March, the county said 2,769 applications have been submitted, $4.5 million has already been dispersed and the average award is $5,500 for rent and $270 for electricity.
Right now, there is no limitation on the monthly amount. If you meet all the requirements, tenants can receive up to 12 months in back rent if you've fallen behind.
"We can also assist with rent forward. Now, if they have back rent, we can provide some back rent and rent forward," Green said.
You can visit RentalAssistancePBC.org to apply and read more information. You can also call 561-355-4792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are step-by-step tutorials on the website and instructions in multiple languages.
The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is also helping through the Rapid Response Eviction Assistance with repayment plans, legal advice and assistance in negotiating.
You can email LASPBC at COVID19Response@legalaidpbc.org or call 561-655-8944 ext. 328.