With $12 million in rental assistance available soon, Manatee County urges renters, landlords to prepare now

With $12 million in rental assistance available soon, Manatee County urges renters, landlords to prepare now
Posted on 01/29/2021

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (Jan. 29, 2021) – Manatee County officials are urging local residents to take steps now to be ready for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) that will assist renters who are delinquent on rent and who need financial assistance as a result of financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications will open Feb. 16 at mymanatee.org/renthelp for the program that aims to distribute $12 million in grants for rent and landlord-paid utilities for much of 2021. Eligible renters may receive grant funds for up to 12 months of assistance, if needed, through November 2021, whichever is less. Funds will be paid directly to the landlord for delinquent rent bills.

"There have been so many negative local impacts from the global pandemic, but we believe this new Emergency Rental Assistance program will go a long way in helping vulnerable people remain sustainably housed," said Karen Stewart, Manatee County Deputy County Administrator. "We expect ERA funds to help up to 1,500 households each month for much of 2021, but the key for those people to receive assistance is to prepare now."

Manatee County officials say applicants should begin getting paperwork in order now, in plenty of time for the Feb. 16 start date. Doing so will make the application process much easier and could result in the applicant receiving the grant assistance more quickly. Applicants will need to have registered with the County's online application portal, Neighborly (link will be posted at mymanatee.org/renthelp next week). Applicants are also encouraged also file their 2020 IRS tax return for ease of eligibility determination. Applicants will also need documentation that their annual wages or salary have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

A full list of required documents is available now at mymanatee.org/renthelp

 Applicants must be at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), which is $43,850/year for a one-person household. Those at or below 50 percent of the AMI ($26,800/year for a one-person household) will be given priority, along with those who have documented unemployment for more than 90 days. This is based on the number of people living in your household and the total income for all in your household (including spouse, roommate, elderly parent, adult children, etc.).

Next week the County will provide details on new rounds of small business assistance that will be available beginning Feb. 8. Also later in February, Manatee County will announce details for the Mortgage Assistance Program to help local homeowners who have fallen behind on mortgage payments as a result of financial losses from the pandemic. Manatee County will partner with non-profit agencies to provide utility assistance to renters in the near future.