Manatee County residents may apply for one-time rent, mortgage, utility payment assistance

This does not include residents of the City of Bradenton
Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:35 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Starting Wednesday, Manatee County residents may apply for emergency help paying overdue rent, mortgage and utilities through the Manatee CARES Assistance Program.

Manatee County has received approximately $1.3 million from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department and State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) program to assist those with financial hardships as a result of the coronavirus and its economic impacts.

The County will disburse those funds for those who need assistance with rent, mortgages and utility bills, as long as those expenses have not already been paid by insurance or another assistance program. Because the City of Bradenton receives SHIP funds and federal funds, Bradenton residents are not eligible for these funds.

The funding is available to Manatee County residents who have lost their job or lost significant income due to COVID-19. Eligible applicants may receive up to $1,500 per month for up to three months in most cases.

The application and more information on the program are available here.

The application window will open Wednesday, June 10 at 9 a.m. and close promptly at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12. Thousands of local residents are expected to apply, but there is enough funding for about 250 households. Due to the demand, a lottery-style drawing will take place by June 16 to randomly determine the order in which applications will be reviewed.

Applicants for CARES funding will need to provide proof of job/income reduction or loss directly related to COVID-19, such as:

  • Letter or email showing termination, furlough or a reduction of hours from employer stating termination/reduction is related to COVID-19
  • Screenshot of employer’s website stating the employer is currently closed due to COVID-19 along with past paystub showing applicant worked there
  • Copy of unemployment application that shows COVID-19 contributed to your unemployment

Starting on July 1st, Governor Ron DeSantis’s order which prevents landlords from evicting non-paying tenants will expire. Manatee County residents who receive an eviction notice can get help from the organization Turning Points. The organization has grant money to help pay rent and utilities for families who can not do so because they lost their job from the pandemic.

To receive help from the organization, a person must show their eviction notice, proof that they lost their job because of the pandemic, and they also have to tell Turning Points what they are doing to make sure they will be able to pay rent in the future. People usually have to be out of their home within three to ten days when evicted, which means if a person does get evicted they should reach out for help as soon as possible to prevent homelessness.

“We expect that there will be several of hundreds of eviction notices [in Manatee County] waiting when they open. When the moratorium is done on July 1st. And so that’s why we think there’s going to be such a surge of people when the courts are now going to be starting to process those evictions. But it will take longer than normal which is a little bit of a silver lining for our clients to get time once they have the eviction notice in hand to get in with their documentation to receive services," said Kathleen Cramer who is the incoming Executive Director for Turning Points in Manatee County.

Cramer said with the surge of evictions they are expected to see they don’t think they’ll have enough funds to help everyone. She says they will be helping qualified people out on a first come first serve basis.

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