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Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity gives out $200 million in housing assistance

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 04:41:23-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  — The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has given out $200 million in homeowners assistance, the DEO tells Fox 4. There's still more to go around — $300 million to be exact. That money is for a program you may not know about.

The DEO is in charge of the Homeowners Assistance Fund, a federally funded program aimed at helping Florida homeowners pay for bills such as insurance, mortgage and utilities.

"It is designed to help the most vulnerable populations in the state get the assistance that they need," said Dr. Shamarial Roberson, a vendor that works alongside the DEO. "I’m happy that we’re able to help so many homeowners so they don’t have to for example, lose their home to foreclosure."

She says more than 11,000 people have applied and more than 6,600 homeowners have been approved for assistance.

"This is for homeowners that were affected by COVID-19 and these households can receive as much as $50,000 for a household," Roberson said.

To be eligible, you have to be a Florida homeowner and meet income requirements based on the Area Median Income (AMI). In Lee County, that's a little more than $66,000, according to the Census Bureau. However, the latest number is from 2020.

We asked how long applications take before homeowners could see the money, if approved. Roberson says every case is different, so there's no ballpark range she can give.

During the application process, Roberson says case workers go through a quality assurance process.

To get the word out, she says they've done more than 500 outreach campaigns across the state and said some have been in the Southwest Florida area.

If you want to check your eligibility, you can apply here.