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Deadline to apply for COVID Orlando rental assistance is Friday

Screenshot of Orlando's Rental Assistance Program portal.
Screenshot of Orlando's Rental Assistance Program portal.

The city of Orlando is ending a rental assistance program funded by COVID relief dollars. Friday is the last day for eligible residents to apply.

The city expects it will soon run out of $6.8 million in federal funding to help residents who experienced financial hardships due to COVID-19 with with past-due rent.

Anyone who faced a financial hardship due to the pandemic can apply.  "It could be unemployment, it could be reduced hours -- just a number of things that have impacted people," said Orlando Henry, Orlando's director of housing and community development.  "But they need to show that they're behind on their rent."

Applicants must also demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability, have a household income below 80% of the area media income, and submit proof of occupancy in the rental residence. Additional requirements are listed on the portal.

The program has helped more than 2,000 households. “Since the pandemic first impacted our community, we’ve worked tirelessly to leverage federal and state funding to provide assistance to residents,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “During this difficult, unprecedented time, the financial support provided by our rental assistance program has helped thousands of Orlando households.”

While the program is ending, Orlando leaders recognize the need for additional resources as the region struggles with affordable housing. Those resources are available by calling Heart of Florida United Way's hotline by dialing 211 or texting your zip code to 898-211.

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.