ORLANDO, Fla. – Due to anticipated exhaustion of the $6.8 million in COVID-19 Relief Funds awarded from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the deadline to apply for financial assistance through the City of Orlando’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP2) is Friday, July 1, 2022.
“Since the pandemic first impacted our community, we’ve worked tirelessly to leverage federal and state funding to provide assistance to residents,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “During this difficult, unprecedented time, the financial support provided by our rental assistance program has helped thousands of Orlando households.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Orlando community, the city has offered several programs to provide assistance to help residents and families who have been financially impacted. This has included helping more than 2,000 households through the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program of ERAP1 and ERAP2, in partnership with KPMG and Neighborly Software. Additionally, with funding from the State of Florida in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the city assisted more than 550 households get current on their past due rent.
City of Orlando households looking to apply for this latest round of funding, before the July 1, 2022, deadline should visit orlando.gov/assistance.
Per the Treasury Department’s requirements for this ERAP2 program, to be eligible, a household must:
- Include one or more individuals within the household who has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship during or due, directly or indirectly, to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Include one or more individuals within the household who demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;
- Have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income ($66,300 for a family of four), with priority given to households at or below 50% of the area median income ($41,450 for a family of four) or that have a household member who has been unemployed for 90 days; and
- Submit proof of occupancy in the rental residence – this can include a copy of a lease, rental agreement, rent receipts, evidence of regular rental payments, or any other documents that show proof of occupancy.
The City of Orlando’s program will have additional eligibility requirements and program guidelines including:
- The rental residence must be located within Orlando city limits. Applicants can verify their address at orlando.gov/assistance.
- Rental assistance is provided for past-due rent and up to three months of prospective rent payments. The total amount of assistance, including any assistance received under the first phase of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, may not exceed 18 months.
- Rentals in homeowner occupied or homestead properties are not eligible.
- The applicant’s monthly rental rate may be no more than $4,000 per month.
- Assistance with utility payments will not be provided unless the utilities are billed as part of the lease.
- Rental assistance payments will be made directly to the landlord.
- If a landlord refuses to participate in the program, eligible tenants will still receive assistance by working with a Housing Stability Services counselor, as long as resources remain available.
- Housing Stability Services will be available through counseling to: prevent evictions; assist tenants in finding new housing and when necessary, pay fees, deposits, and rent for the new unit; and provide housing-related services for survivors of domestic abuse or human trafficking.
For more information on eligibility requirements and/or to begin the application process, Orlando residents should visit orlando.gov/assistance.
Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell Announces Leadership Team
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) today announced the appointment of the following Democratic Representatives to serve on the House Democratic Caucus leadership team for the 2022-24 legislative term:
- Leader Pro Tempore: Representative Dotie Joseph (D-Miami);
- Policy Chair: Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton);
- Floor Leader: Representative Michael “Mike” Gottlieb (D-Davie); and
- Whip: Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland).
“The House Democratic Caucus is made up of some of the strongest, most fierce champions of the people in the entire state,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “It is an honor and great pleasure to work with these individuals in this new capacity, and all of them are prepared to lead the Caucus in the face of the challenges that lie ahead of us.”
As Leader Pro Tempore, Representative Joseph will assist the Democratic Leader in carrying out designated responsibilities and perform such Leadership responsibilities as are assigned, including stepping in for the Leader as needed.
“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Representative Joseph for over 20 years. From the time we were at Georgetown Law to now, she has always been a consistent champion for justice. The issues she advocates for on behalf of all Floridians makes Representative Joseph an invaluable asset in defending Floridians against extremist Republican policies,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “I look forward to Representative Joseph’s leadership as a key member of my team over the next two years.”
In her role as the Caucus Policy Chair, Representative Skidmore will be responsible for ensuring the Caucus continues to champion legislation that positively impacts all Floridians, and will lead discussions about bills before the House at Caucus meetings.
“As the previous Policy Chair for the Caucus, I know what is needed to do this job. Appointing Representative Skidmore as Policy Chair was an easy choice,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “She stood out as a prime member in understanding policy during the last legislative term. Representative Skidmore also brings with her a wealth of experience as both a former House and Senate staffer and House member. Applying her unique skillset to this new role will benefit the Caucus and all Floridians.”
In his role as Floor Leader, Representative Gottlieb will be responsible in interpreting the House Rules, ensuring the Caucus adheres to the agreed upon rules, and working with his Republican counterpart in advocating for fair amounts of time be allotted to the Caucus in debating different pieces of legislation.
“Two things I greatly appreciate about Representative Gottlieb are his refreshing candor and strong fortitude,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “As the minority party in the Legislature, we’re aware of the challenges that lie ahead of us. What we need right now is someone who is unwavering under extreme pressure to help guide our Caucus during difficult moments. Representative Gottlieb is perfectly suited for this role.”
As Whip, Representative Hunschofsky will be responsible for keeping all Democratic Caucus members apprised of Caucus policy on any bills or issues before the House.
“Representative Hunschofsky has an amazing ability to get things done,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “Not only does Representative Hunschofsky possess a wealth of knowledge due to her experience as the former mayor of Parkland, Florida, she is also a champion of many initiatives close to Floridians’ hearts, such as expanding access to quality mental health care. I know Representative Hunschofsky’s knowledge and ability will help prepare our Caucus for the challenges of the next two year.”
The Florida House Democratic Caucus will convene during Organizational Session taking place Nov. 21-22, 2022 in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session scheduled to begin on March 7, 2023.
VIDEO: State Rep. Dianne Hart elected chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Dianne Hart (D-Tampa), incoming Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, talks briefly with Florida National News on the importance of the Florida Blue Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium in Orlando Saturday. The Florida Classic is an annual college football rivalry game between Bethune–Cookman University and Florida A&M University.
Hart’s Twitter Statement:
Hart’s statement: “I’m honored to have been elected as the Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.” “I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support and for trusting me to move this important caucus forward.”
During the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions, Rep. Hart served on the following House committees, including Democratic Ranking Member of the Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee, Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight, Ways & Means Committee, Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, State Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee and Select Subcommittee on Authorized Gaming Activity.
Hart was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018. She is also the CEO of the East Tampa Business and Civic Association.
Former State Rep. Bruce Antone Ready To Rejoin Florida House
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Former Florida State Representative Bruce Antone served 12 years (six terms) in the Florida House of Representatives and defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Travaris McCurdy during the August primary election to represent Orange County in the newly draw District 41 House seat.
Antone was among eleven candidates seeking election to county, state and Congressional seats participating in a candidate forum hosted by CFABJ, NAACP and the Florida Voters League, Wednesday, October 19, 2022.
Green Party nominee Robin Denise Harris is the only potential road block in Antone’s return to Tallahassee and faces off with him in the November general election. The District 41 House seat has an overwhelmingly Democratic voter base.
During his time in the Florida House, Antone was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Chairman of the 29-member Florida Legislative Black Caucus.
The general election is Tuesday, November 8, 2022.