The Volusia County Council on Tuesday allocated an additional $2.5 million to help local residents struggling to make their housing payments due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council also has allocated millions of dollars in grant funds to assist small businesses, home-based businesses and non-profit agencies, including qualifying military organizations and houses of worship. The money for the programs is coming from the coronavirus relief funds distributed to the county as part of the federal CARES Act. Councilwoman Heather Post made the motion Tuesday to increase funding for the county’s rent and mortgage grants, saying that’s the assistance program that affects the most people.
“They’re in desperate need. They’ve been greatly, greatly impacted on so many levels,” said Post. “I would say that this is the grant that is the most important.”
The additional allocation brings the total amount that the county has earmarked for rent and mortgage assistance for local residents to $12.5 million. The decision to make the additional funding allocation was made after the council received a report indicating that the number of applications has been growing. The county has embarked on an aggressive media campaign to make sure Volusia County residents know that the rent and mortgage assistance is available – up to $1,500 a month for a maximum of three months. So far, the county has received approximately 3,940 applications, with about 2,000 approved and more than 1,300 currently under the review. Based on the number of applications already approved or under review, county officials said Tuesday that approximately $8.7 million of the $10 million is already obligated – leaving about $1.3 million left.
“I think the pace has picked up,” Ryan Ossowski, the county’s Finance Department director and chief financial officer, told the council.
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. And applicants must 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 clicking on the link to visit the website: https://www.volusia.org/services/community-services/community-assistance/.
Source: Volusia County
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