ORLANDO, Fla. — As Orange County businesses start to reopen, many people are still reeling from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What You Need To Know

The local Salvation Army is currently experiencing an influx of calls from people asking for help with housing expenses, with most of those people seeking aid for the first time.

“The phones are ringing off the hook,” said Capt. Ken Chapman, area commander for Salvation Army of Orange and Osceola counties.

In the last three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, this chapter of the Salvation Army has provided aid to tens of thousands of people, providing about a thousand meals a day, according to Chapman.

Now, as Florida’s eviction moratorium looms on July 1, calls for aid are ramping up. Most calls lately are from people who need help paying their rent, mortgage, or utilities bills.

Seventy-one percent of the callers are people who have never before sought aid from the Salvation Army, according to social services program coordinator Nerisa Irving.

Chapman said when the Salvation Army is able to provide someone with financial assistance, staff try to help that person develop a financial plan, so they can be stable in the future.

“Say we pay a month’s rent, or two months (of) rent, then what is your plan for the next three months to make sure there's sustainability?” Chapman said.

Those who wish to donate to the branch’s COVID-19 relief efforts may visit www.salvationarmyorlando.org.

Sign up now for one of our newsletters that will show up in your inbox every weekday at 1 p.m. The newsletters highlight the most important stories of the day that you need to know for your area.

Spectrum News 13 newsletter

Spectrum Bay News 9 newsletter