By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – Last night, Tuesday, June 30th, at 8:16 PM, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the order to extend the moratorium on evictions for another month, as a continued effort to help citizens avoid homelessness amidst the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
The executive order suspends evictions until 12:01 AM on August 1st. Governor DeSantis put the moratorium in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic on April 2nd. The order states this does not relieve an individual from their obligation to make mortgage or rent payments.
Last week, DeSantis announced $240 million in funding for rental assistance for affordable housing tenants, along with rent and mortgage assistance. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation will oversee the funds: Half of the funding will go toward helping tenants around the state who have been struggling to make rent. The other $120 million will go to local housing offices.
“Many families across our state have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 through no fault of their own,” said Governor DeSantis on June 25th. “This initiative strives to provide financial assistance through multiple affordable housing programs to ensure these Floridians receive the support they need during this difficult time.”
“Florida Housing is grateful for the Governor’s strong support of housing and the programs proposed to give renters and homeowners impacted by COVID-19 the relief they desperately need,” said Florida Housing Finance Corporation Executive Director Trey Price.
“The Governor and Florida Housing stand together in guaranteeing Florida households stay a priority, and ensuring families have the necessary assistance and tools in place to remain in their homes affordably during this public health emergency.”
In Palm Beach County, officials announced the CARES Act Rent and Utilities Assistance Program, which provides one-time rental and/or utility assistance to eligible Palm Beach County residents who have experienced loss of income, reduction in hours, or unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds are for applicants who reside in apartments, houses, townhouses, or mobile homes. Applications must be submitted through the CSD’s online portal. To apply, visit their web site www.pbcgov.com/OSCARSS.
Another resource in Delray Beach is the Achievement Centers for Children & Families COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funds. The ACCF’s Family Strengthening Team, led by Berthanie Pierre, pivoted with the immediate crisis to provide aid including emergency funding.
Jessica Hall, Director of Events and Communications at the Achievement Centers for Children and Families, shared “unemployment is still high throughout the state and in Delray Beach and we are seeing that many of those who are currently working have had their hours cutback.”
Adding, “Having a reprieve from evictions and foreclosures will help local families stay in their homes while they seek work or return to their jobs.”
For anyone still being threatened with eviction, Hall explains, “through ACCF’s Family Strengthening Program, we work with our families to keep them informed of the latest regulations.”
Hall continues, “[We] help them navigate the system, including negotiating with their landlord or mortgage company. For many of the families, English is not their first language, so we help translate correspondence.”
“We have also established the ACCF COVID-19 Emergency Fund, funded by private donors, that has helped our member families who are in critical situations,” Fornier adds. “We have recently worked with three families who were experiencing homelessness and through the fund, our Family Strengthening Program was able to secure affordable housing for them.”