SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES
DELAND – The Volusia County Council allocated another $5 million on Tuesday in emergency rent and mortgage assistance to help local residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council earmarked an initial $5 million in May to fund the program, part of the county’s Relaunch Volusia plan to help the community recover from the coronavirus crisis.
The grant funds – up to $1,500 a month for a maximum of three months – are available for qualified residents who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage as a direct result of a loss or reduction in income caused by COVID-19.
More than allocated
Already, the total dollar amount of the 1,195 grant applications that have been approved and funded along with the more than 1,200 applications that are under review exceeds the original $5 million. So on Tuesday, the council allocated another $5 million so the assistance program can help even more people who need it.
To qualify, the rent or mortgage must have been current as of March 13, 2020. Also, the dwelling unit must be located in Volusia County and be the applicant’s primary residence.
Applicants must also meet income eligibility criteria to qualify and certify that they’ve suffered a loss or reduction in income due to the pandemic.
For applicants who meet the eligibility requirements and are approved for the grant, the county will make payments directly to the landlord or mortgage holder.
Applications are being processed on a first-come, first-served basis and can be obtained by calling Volusia County Community Assistance at 386-736-5955 or by visiting the Volusia.org website.
The rent and mortgage grants are part of a $44.5 million package of assistance the county has established to support community recovery efforts.
Funds have been allocated for grants to help small businesses, homebased businesses, nonprofit agencies and qualified not-for-profit military organizations. Relief funds have also been dedicated to food aid, personal protective equipment for businesses, free mask distribution and assistance to local cities.
Home-based businesses eligible
Also Tuesday, the council amended the eligibility criteria to allow people who qualify for the county’s COVID-19 home-based business grant to also apply for rent or mortgage assistance. Council members noted that they’re already seeing the positive effects from all of the help that’s being provided.
The money for the programs is coming from federal coronavirus relief funds that the county has received from the federal government as part of the CARES Act.