JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The deadline to apply for OUR Florida rental assistance is Thursday night.
Only applications that have been completely submitted by 10 p.m. on Thursday May 12th will be considered for payments, after that the program will cease accepting new applications.
However, in the rush to submit applications in the final hours of the program, the OUR Florida website crashed on Thursday morning and prospective applicants were not able to submit documents to complete their application.
Here's another option if you encounter this problem while submitting your application - Email all of your relevant documents to firstname.lastname@example.org, make sure to include your applicant ID in the subject line and make sure the email is sent before 10 p.m. on Thursday night. Also, only send the email once because multiple emails might get flagged as an attempt to apply more than once.
Many Floridians are in this position because of rising rent prices.
Vanessa Brito, the moderator of the First Coast News Facebook page Navigating Florida's Unemployment Maze, says that the state needs to adopt a statewide restriction on rent increases similar to Miami's 5% rent limit law.
In March, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners passed a new ordinance that requires landlords to give residential tenants at least 60 days written notice when increasing rent by more than 5%.
"Miami-Dade and now Broward counties have put a cap on rental increases for now, because it is really impossible for people trying to keep up, especially coming out of the pandemic and trying to catch up," said Brito.
Until that happens, if you're in the Jacksonville area and don't get accepted for OUR Florida before the window closes, you can contact Jacksonville Area Legal Aid to speak with a lawyer.
If you're directly facing eviction, you can also reach out to the organization Changing Homelessness, which is a group that works for finding housing for people in Northeast Florida.
First Coast News recently reached out to the Department of Children and Families about the abrupt end to the application window for OUR Florida.
Here are our questions and the agencies responses:
Will reconsiderations be made after May 12th for an individual who was able to submit their application prior to the deadline?
Any application submitted before 10:00 p.m. EST on May 12, 2022, will be reviewed to verify eligibility. If you are determined eligible and your application approved, you will receive assistance with past due rent and utilities.
Assistance will also be provided for previously approved prospective rent and utility payments.
This deadline seems to have been announced rather quickly. Is that because all available funding has been accounted for?
By May 27, 2022, OUR Florida expects to commit all available funds to families who have applied for assistance with rent and utility payments.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to help Florida families recover on the road to economic self-sufficiency.
- · Through OUR Florida, more than 228,000 families have received relief on past due rent and utilities.
- · In one year since the program was launched, OUR Florida distributed more than $1.3 billion to support struggling families.
Will this program restart in the future if there is more funding available?
While OUR Florida funds will no longer be available, there are many other programs and services available to support Florida families.
- Dial 2-1-1 from any phone to seek assistance with local resources that may be able to assist with housing or other supports.
- Florida’s Center for Child Welfare provides local referrals for education, the court system, employment, health, housing and law enforcement, etc. Visit: http://centerforchildwelfare.fmhi.usf.edu/FloridaStatewideServices.shtml
- HOPE Florida unites communities through ‘Care Navigators’ to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity, economic self-sufficiency and hope. Go to: https://www.myflfamilies.com/APathwaytoProsperity/
- Community Action Agency: Community Action Agencies represent nearly every area of Florida and provide immediate financial assistance to those in crisis and assist those in poverty to become independent. To find your local Community Action Agency. Go To: https://faca.org/help_search/
- Homelessness Prevention: Continuums of Care (CoC) are organizations that assist in outreach, intake and assessment to link housing and services to those who are homeless, provide emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent housing to end episodes of homelessness. To find your local COC, visit https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/homelessness/local-providers.shtml