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Fla. Takes First Step to Launch Rental Assistance Program

DCF, the Fla. department charged with distributing $850M of federal funds to assist with rental assistance, introduced a dedicated website to get funds to landlords and utility companies. Applications should be available soon, and payments can be direct-deposited into business accounts.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) took its first step to get $850 million in federal recovery funds into the hands of landlords and utility companies.

In a Thursday webinar, DCF announced the debut of a new website – OURFlorida.com (Opportunity for Utilities and Rental Assistance) – that will operate as a central hub for questions, auxiliary help and submitting relief applications, which are not available yet.

The website still has a number of “coming soon” options, but it does have a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs).

When will the website start to accept landlord applications for rental reimbursement? Officials did not offer a date, but Michael Williams, director of special projects for DCF, said in response to a question that they might be available within a week.

Notable items from DCF’s announcement

  • Landlords can receive funding as a direct deposit into their bank account – it won’t go through tenants.
  • Landlords can apply for lost-rent reimbursement only for time periods in which they did not receive county assistance – the two cannot overlap. However, if a lost rental period lasts for six months and they received county assistance for three months, they can apply for the three months not covered by the county.
  • Landlords apply through the OURFlorida.com website to receive funds.
  • OURFlorida.com visitors can sign up for an e-newsletter to get funding updates.

DCF asked webinar participants to promote the new website and upcoming application process – to “spread the word.” The website will include a toolkit (coming soon) with items that can be shared on social media and used in other ways.

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