Orange County, Fla. (August 12, 2020) – In an effort to help curb the onslaught of possible evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program at the August 11, 2020 board meeting. The $20 million program will launch on August 25, 2020, and is funded by the Federal CARES Act monies that are allotted locally. Of the $20 million allocated, $5.7 million is from the Florida Housing CARES Act— Coronavirus Relief Funds.
The income-based program is designed to help Orange County’s most vulnerable tenants who are in imminent danger of eviction due to COVID-19 and provides the property owner with an alternative to eviction. The Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program will provide up to $4,000 in past due rent.
“COVID-19 adds a lot of stress to our lives. One thing I don’t want our Orange County residents – especially the very low and low income – is to worry about being evicted from their homes,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings. “This new assistance program will help our residents stay afloat during this unprecedented time.”
The COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program is a partnership with the Orange County Bar Association and local legal assistance nonprofit agencies. The Orange County Bar Association will administer the program and process all applications. Orange County Government will finalize applications, and the Orange County Comptroller will provide payment directly to the landlords.
The application will be available at the online portal on Orange County’s website ocfl.net/OrangeCARES beginning August 25, 2020. The tenant or landlord can initiate the application process; however, both must agree to participate. Program details will be posted on the Orange County Cares Act website in the coming week.
The tenant eligibility criteria include:
- Orange County resident
- Property is the tenant’s primary residence
- Lease is in the tenant’s name and is responsible for paying a portion or the full amount
- One or more members of the household experienced a documented, involuntary loss of income that occurred due to the COVID-19 public health emergency
- Date of job loss, reduction in employment hours or pay occurred between March 13, 2020 and September 1, 2020
- Must have received an eviction notice, letter from their landlord to participate in the program or referral from the court
- At least two months behind in rent and the arrears were accrued between April 1, 2020 and August 11, 2020
- No other person in the household has applied for or will apply for the Orange County COVID-19 Eviction Diversion Program
- Required to certify their household income prior to and after April 1, 2020
- Eligibility is income-based with a focus on very low and low income
- Demonstrates ability to pay rent after arrears are paid by Orange County
More information will be available soon at www.ocfl.net/OrangeCARES