OUR Florida, the state-run program that distributes federally-funded emergency rental assistance, is not processing new applications anymore. In fact, it seems to be struggling to cope with long wait times and inconsistent information from staff. In this article, we explore why the program may have failed to meet its stated goals and why its problems are still present. But how can those who struggle to find affordable housing find relief from the problem? Read on to find out more.
OUR Florida is a state-run program that distributes federally-funded emergency rental assistance
OUR Florida is a federally funded program that provides rent and utility payments for qualifying households. The program has distributed more than $1 billion in rental assistance to more than 164,000 households since January 2021. The funds come from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The state of Florida administers the program and hired 700 employees to process applications.
The Department of Children and Families allocated $1.4 billion in emergency rental assistance funds to Florida in 2017 and last year, local governments distributed about $529 million. The state of Florida says it has spent nearly half of the available funds by the end of the month, and it expects all the money will be obligated by May 27. The announcement has shocked residents who have been waiting for assistance. However, it should not be too late to apply. The state will continue processing applications until all the available funds have been distributed.
The OUR Florida program is a lifeline for many tenants. However, many are still seeking help for cases that remain unresolved. Community Legal Services Jorge Acosta said the program was designed to help families facing eviction. But OUR Florida warns people that the money is not enough to cover all needs and that there are other resources available to help.
Since May 2021, the state has distributed more than $1 billion in rental and utility assistance to nearly 185,000 households. The funds have grown by over 45% in the last three months. The program’s success, however, depends on how efficiently the state can use its funds to address housing affordability problems. In October, the state had distributed almost $648 million of ERA1 funds to nearly 25 thousand households.
It is no longer accepting new applications
The OUR Florida program is now closed, and new applications will not be accepted after May 12. As a reminder, the state program has already distributed more than $1 billion in rental assistance to Florida residents. The deadline is May 12, 2022, and OUR Florida officials expect to have all of the funding allocated to the program at that time. To be considered for the program, families must submit an application in person at an OUR Florida location or mail it to the state agency by the deadline.
Since October 2015, the Department of Children and Families has been disbursing the funds through OUR Florida. The program was launched during the pandemic and used federal money to help families in need. While the program is no longer accepting new applications, it has been giving nonprofit and housing partners 48 hours’ notice to submit applications. In addition, social service groups were given 48 hours notice prior to the cutoff date.
It is no longer processing applications
The government’s Our Florida program will no longer be accepting applications. The Florida Department of Children and Families notified nonprofit and housing partners about the program’s cutoff date on Thursday, May 10, at 10 p.m. Those who received advance notice had 48 hours to apply. But now, many residents are struggling to make ends meet. To help them, the state’s nonprofit and housing partners are providing free legal assistance.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program makes funds available to local and state governments to help those in need. These programs will eventually run out of money, but until that time, they’ll provide assistance for past-due rent and utilities. As of May 12, the Statewide ERAP OUR Florida has stopped accepting new applications. Those impacted by this decision should check their email and portal often. In the meantime, some local ERAPs may have available funds, but there is a limited amount of funding.
Emergency rental assistance for low-income households is available to those with incomes below 80 percent of the area median income. Because of the finite funding available for the program, the portal will process applications weekly. However, there may come a point when the portal closes, which means that the funding is fully committed. Those who received emergency rental assistance will not need to reapply. But they may be ineligible for the Our Florida program.
While OUR Florida is no longer accepting new applications, approved applicants will continue to receive assistance. The deadline is set at 10:00 p.m. EST on May 12, 2022. While this deadline may seem far away, OUR Florida hopes to spend all of its available funds by that date. If you need assistance, contact 2-1-1. It can help connect you with resources in your area. You may qualify for the assistance you need to stay afloat.
It struggles to navigate long wait times and inconsistent information from staff
Millions of laid-off workers experienced nightmares when trying to obtain unemployment benefits in Florida when COVID-19 shut down the nation’s economy. Despite an increase in complaints since the program began in April, many remain stuck in long wait times. Moreover, the department’s staff often gives contradictory information and is slow to process completed applications. The agency’s efforts to prevent giving money to fraudsters and unqualified applicants have left some in the dark about their eligibility.