Alachua County Emergency Rental Assistance pay millions in rent and utility services to community
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Two waves of federal funds sent millions to Alachua County residents for rent and utility expenses.
“Thank goodness we have the ERAP money there,” said County Commissioner, Mary Alford. “Otherwise, I can’t imagine where our community would be right now.”
More than $15.5 million of grant money has been spent to process applications and payout bills to qualifying residents. This makes Alachua County one of just five communities state-wide to use 100% of their first round of funds; totaling $7 million.
“County’s running out of funds doesn’t mean the program is over,” said April Shuping with Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPA firm.
“The state’s just starting to spend their ERAP 2 money. We would like to continue funding the monthly payments until the funding is exhausted for those who are in the program today and we think that’s coming up soon.
Rental assistance program funds are expected to run out in April. Tenants have to be at or below 80% of the average median income for Alachua County which is at $39,000 yearly for one person.
“So I was $15,000 behind so ERAP really helped me out,” said Alachua County resident, June King.
The second round of ERAP funds is 65% used so far; with a total of $8 million. Resident June King is a program recipient who said she had COVID-19 for six months working as a nurse but is now searching for a new home. King said her landlord is not accepting the funds.
“Because I received ERAP, I was kind of discriminated against since then,” said King. “They decided not to renew my lease December 31 so at this point I haven’t found nowhere else to place my family. I’m just getting back into nursing, just getting back on my feet. So I’m considered as a holdover tenant.”
New applications for the program close in about a week. County commissioners unanimously approved a plan for staff to find a way to connect residents with their promised money.
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