The Okaloosa County has announced the applications for Emergency Rental Assistance Program to provide Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance to low-income households located in Okaloosa County experiencing hardships due to COVID-19.
- As required by Title V of Section N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the County will prioritize households that are below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or who have been unemployed for the last 90 days. The County may carry out this prioritization each week by first processing applications of households below 50% AMI or who are currently unemployed and have been for the last 90 days before the remaining applications (between 50%-80% AMI) are processed.
- Depending on volume of applications, they may not be able to get to applications in the 50%-80% AMI range in the same week they are submitted.
Grant Assistance Available
Assistance may be provided for the following:
- Rental Arrears
- Late fees associated with rental arrears up to $100.00
- Utility arrears
- Rental Deposits (With Demonstrated ability to Sustain)
- Utility Deposits
Distribution of Funds
Funds will be paid directly to landlords/property managers and utility service providers. Applicants will be approved and assisted on a first qualified, first assisted basis. Prioritization will be given to eligible applicants as outlined below.
- The County can approve an applicant to receive emergency rental assistance for up to 3 months at a time. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period, if needed, provided funds are available and the maximum time limit for assistance has not been exceeded.
- If the applicant is on a month-to-month lease, they must have lived at that residence for a minimum of 3 months.
- Utility assistance can be provided as part of rent or on its own. Once approved, the applicant must submit subsequent monthly invoice(s) for approved utility payments. Households may reapply for additional assistance at the end of the three-month period, if needed, and the overall time limit for assistance is not exceeded using a recertification application.
- Utilities include separately-stated electricity, gas, water and sewer, trash removal and energy costs, such as fuel oil. Telecommunication services (telephone, internet, cable) delivered to the rental dwelling are not considered utilities and therefore do not qualify for assistance.
- Rental assistance provided to an eligible household should not be duplicative of any other local, state, or federally funded rental assistance provided to such household. An attestation will be required for all adults living in the household.
- Households receiving monthly rent subsidies shall not receive more that the tenant-owed portion of the rent.
- Households receiving assistance through Section 8 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are ineligible to participate in this program.
To be eligible, a household must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling located in Okaloosa County and the County must determine that:
- One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 outbreak;
- One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
- The household has a household income at or below 80% of area median income as determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
For more information, visit https://okaloosarentalaid.com/emergency-rental-assistance-grant/