| The Daytona Beach News-Journal
Volusia County got an additional $16.7 million from the federal government to help pay rent for those hurting financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, and applications are set to open in March.
Money to cover up to a year of rental payments will be available to qualifying residents affected by COVID-19.
“I think we’re still going to have — unfortunately, but it’s good we have the money to do it — some folks that are really in need,” Volusia County community services director Dona Butler said at Tuesday’s County Council meeting.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended an eviction moratorium through the end of March following an executive order signed by Joe Biden on the first day of his presidency.
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The new program is a boost from the rental assistance offered through the CARES Act, which only extended three months.
But there are sacrifices in other areas.
“This is not for mortgage. This is only for rent,” Butler pointed out.
Former President Donald Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act in late December, which included some, but not all, of the economic stimulus measures established in the CARES Act from March.
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Landlords will apply on behalf of their tenants, which Butler said will be helpful because some tenants had difficulty navigating the application before.
This time around requires more documentation, and that’s intentional.
“This program gives us the opportunity to actually case manage,” Butler said. “We’re going to encourage (tenants) to contact CareerSource about getting a new job or a better job. We’re going to make sure they’re getting these extra benefits if they qualify.”
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The county will hire 15 temporary workers using the grant funds to administer the program.
“We need people that are willing to stay for the entire time,” Butler said. “We have to get them on board as soon as possible.”
The city of Daytona Beach also provides rental assistance with federal money and is currently taking applications. Details can be found on the city’s website (https://www.codb.us/1135/Assistance).
Volusia County councilmembers also approved a tweak to the last round of relief, letting those who applied before the previous Dec. 30 deadline to receive the full three months allowed, even if that extends into 2021.
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