Across the United States, millions of residents are living from one paycheck to the next, and Florida is no exception. Indeed, surviving takes precedence over saving in so many cases. When a crisis or unforeseen expense hits, existential things like food, health care and rent will feel the pinch.
Fortunately, government agencies and private charities can help needy people get the sustenance and attention they need to stay healthy. The Sunshine State also affords its people opportunities to procure emergency help with rent. In this way, those left jobless or financially burdened can still rest assured that they can remain at home.
Government Resources to Help Pay Rent
Although Florida had cut back on rental assistance programs in previous years, COVID-19 rental assistance was more recently instituted in response to the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout. With $850 million granted by the U.S. Treasury, many Florida counties and cities will disburse funds to those whose cash flow has been disrupted by the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the largest of these jurisdictions will receive financial help directly from the federal Treasury Department.
Criteria for such aid include unemployment eligibility, evidence of imminent homelessness or household income on par with – or under – 80 percent of the median household income. Residents can apply with their county or municipal governments.
Assistance from the Salvation Army
Among the myriad organizations that help pay bills, the Salvation Army (SA) has a long and noble history. For 150 years, this religious institution has sought to bring comfort and relief to the financially struggling and poverty-stricken. Although in Florida for less than a century, the Salvation Army continues that tradition to the present day.
Among its numerous social services and emergency aid programs are financial outlays directed toward rental remittances and utility payments for the purposes of staving off eviction and service interruptions. Reaching out to the local SA citadel or unit is the first step to securing needed funds.
Catholic Charities Services to Struggling Tenants
Established in 1910, Catholic Charities USA operates under the assumption that if people unite against poverty, the scourge can be eliminated. The organization maintains a regional presence through much of Florida, providing food, medical services and legal aid to the impoverished. It also offers family stability programs designed to repel the specter of homelessness. To find an office where an application for such rental assistance is made, consult the Florida Catholic Conference for the appropriate regional links.
United Way Gives Aid in Emergencies
Entering its fifth decade of service, the United Way of Florida supports 28 independent chapters throughout the state. Its charter is found in its mission statement: "The mission of the United Way of Florida is to enhance Florida United Ways’ efforts to increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another." United Way shuttles funds to victims of economic emergencies and natural disasters.
This secular organization's stewardship program is also providing emergency assistance funds in response to COVID-19 deprivations. Among the places to look is the Orlando area.
NAMI Helping the Disabled Live with Dignity
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) seeks ways to raise awareness and educate the public about the real nature of mental illness, its challenges and its treatments. Operating in Florida since 1984, this organization also assists those living on Supplemental Security Income or other disability payments – at all levels of independence – to afford rental expenses for which their small incomes fail to provide. Its help information hotline number is (800) 950-NAMI.
Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.