Alachua County Emergency Rental Assistance pay millions in rent and utility services to community

Alachua County Emergency Rental Assistance pay millions in rent and utility services to community
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 7:08 PM EST
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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.

RELATED STORY: Families in need can receive up to $15,000 for rental assistance in Alachua County

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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