STATEWIDE — Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed Florida’s eviction moratorium to expire Wednesday night. His office said the move was to avoid “any confusion” over which order might prevail between Florida’s order and the federal eviction moratorium put forth by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
What You Need To Know
- Governor allowed Florida eviction, foreclosure moratorium to sunset
- Federal CDC moratorium is in effect for the remainder of 2020
- Community leaders want state-level eviction protection to be put back in place
The CDC’s moratorium offers protection from eviction through the end of 2020. To receive that protection, the renter must fill out a special declaration form. But some community leaders think the loss of such protection on the state level is still significant.
“I think right off the bat, the biggest impact is, it’s going to make the issues that families are going through, for the families themselves, much more real,” said Ian Golden, director of Brevard County’s Housing and Human Services Department.
Golden said the county is prioritizing applicants who are imminently facing an eviction. Seminole County is taking a similar approach, placing applicants with pending eviction cases at the top of the processing queue.
Seminole County is one of several counties in the region receiving a significant number of incomplete applications for housing assistance programs.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of resources and links for housing assistance depending on which county you live in. We will update it as more information becomes available.
CARES Housing Assistance, County-By-County
Orange: After the existing text can we please add the following: “Orange County will reopen its application portal for Individual and Family Assistance at least twice more: on Monday, Oct. 12 at 8 a.m. and Sat. Oct. 24 at 8 a.m. Up to ten thousand users will be allowed inside the portal each day to submit their documentation. After these two sessions, the county will examine its funding capacity to see whether future opening dates can be scheduled. Information will soon be available here: https://www.ocfl.net/EconomicDevelopment/OrangeCARES/SocialServicesandResidentNeeds.aspx#.X3x86ZNKhTY *NOTE: Orange County residents who have already received funding from the CARES Act Individual and Family Assistance program are not eligible to re-apply.
Osceola: The county on Monday, October 5 launched two new programs to assist residents impacted by COVID-19: an eviction diversion program and a utility assistance program. http://housing.osceola.org Applications for the eviction diversion program will be accepted until 8 a.m. Monday, October 12. Both tenant and landlord must apply, and a random lottery will determine which qualified applicants receive funding. Questions about the program may be directed to 407-742-8440 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A utility assistance program also opened for applications Monday morning and will remain open for the foreseeable future, without an end date currently specified. Applications will be processed first-come, first-serve and questions may be directed to 407-742-8403.
Seminole: Applications are currently closed for Seminole County’s individual assistance grants. (http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/cares/) The county said of the 2,000 applications that have been received for the program, 80 percent are missing some documentation. These incomplete applications delay processing time.
“We unfortunately do not have an answer on if the portal will re-open at this time,” Carrie Longsworth wrote in an email September30. “Staff will need to complete the review and approval process for all submitted applications and then will be able to make a determination.”
Volusia: The county is still accepting applications for housing assistance from households that have been impacted by COVID-19. More information is available here https://www.volusia.org/services/public-protection/emergency-management/pin/coronavirus/covid19-assistance.stml
“It’s important that applicants monitor their email and telephone calls in the event the county needs to contact them for additional information that could be needed during the application review process,” Volusia County Director of Community Information Kevin Captain wrote in an email.
Lake: Lake County plans to open applications for a second wave of individual housing assistance in mid-October. $15 million in CARES Act funding will be made available for residential assistance. County residents can sign up to pre-register for information about the application process at https://elevatelake.com/reopen.
WATCH: Curtis McCloud Explains How the CDC Eviction Moratorium Works
Flagler: Flagler’s application portal is closed. http://www.flaglercounty.org/departments/social_services/CARES_Individual_Assistance.php The county is holding in-person interviews as part of its application process – primarily, because it’s a simpler way to ensure applicants have the correct documentation, according to Joyce Bishop, Health and Human Services Director for Flagler County’s Board of County Commissioners.
Brevard: Brevard County is still accepting applications for housing assistance from households that have been impacted by COVID-19, prioritizing those applicants who have pending evictions. http://www.brevardfl.gov/BrevardCARES/home There is still about $1.1 million remaining for individual assistance after estimated obligations, according to the county.
Sumter: Sumter County is still accepting applications for housing assistance from households that have been impacted by COVID-19. The deadline to submit an application is currently set for Dec. 4, 2020. https://sumtercountyfl.gov/1266/Sumter-County-CARES-Act-Housing-Assistan
Marion: Housing assistance applications are still open at https://www.uwmc.org/crf. The county’s housing assistance program is being administered by United Way of Marion County.
Democrats, Republicans Clash Over Need for State Moratorium
Democratic state leaders are asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to reconsider his decision to end the state's eviction moratorium and, instead, extend it to the end of the year.
Republican leaders say there is no need, because there is a federal moratorium from the CDC, and that as Florida continues to re-open it should lead to more people being able to go back to work.
Democratic State Rep. Anna Eskamani said there is a strong reason why the governor should have extended the state’s moratorium of evictions.
“The CDC order does not cover foreclosures,” said Eskamani, who represents District 47.
She also said Florida residents unable to make mortgage or rent payments are potentially vulnerable.
“The CDC order is currently being challenged in Federal Court,” Eskamani said. “If it is overturned, Floridans will have no safety nets to catch them.”
Eskamani recently wrote a letter to DeSantis asking him to extend the state’s limited moratorium of evictions and foreclosures to the end of the year, at the earliest.
Republican Rep. Randy Fine says that solution causes a problem for someone else.
“While we are trying to forestall a problem on the part of the renters, we are making real problems for many of the people who own these properties,” said Fine, who represents District 53.
Fine feels opening the economy back up, and continuing to re-open the state, is a way for people to get back on their feet.
“My focus isn’t about getting more welfare given out,” he said. “My focus is on how do we get people back to work and get jobs, that is the solution here.”
According to the most recent data from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state’s unemployment rate was 7.4 percent — or 753,000 jobless Floridians out of a labor force of just over 10 million — in August 2020.
In the meantime, Eskamani believes the state has the money to help people in need.
“We have billions of CARES Act dollars that are sitting in the state coffer,” she said. “The governor has not been transparent on how these dollars are being spent.”
Fine has a different take.
“There’s a federal moratorium in effect,” Fine said. “So, why do we need a state moratorium when there is already a federal moratorium?"
Democrats have requested a special legislative session in Tallahassee to talk about the states unemployment system, as well as housing and utility security, but was denied along a party line vote.
Fine said there is no need for a special session because the election is now just a month away.