Florida homeowners have yet to see any money from American Rescue Plan

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — In March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, clearing the way for billions of dollars in aid for homeowners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida’s share, $676 million, yet nine months after it was passed, Florida homeowners have yet to see any money.

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“I’ve tried very hard to maintain but with one income and being disabled and being on a fixed income and makes it extremely difficult,” says homeowner Scott Silver. “I’m behind on my mortgage and they call and they start telling you hey we got a great option for you why don’t you sell your house why don’t you do a short sale why don’t you do a foreclosure.”

For people like Scott, the Homeowner Assistance Fund would be a lifeline, however, no applications have been taken and no money has been paid out.

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Florida, which submitted its application in August is still waiting for an answer on how to administer the money from the US Treasury.

Treasury has already approved several states including Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and New York. Even Puerto Rico’s plan has been approved, yet Florida has not. Making matters worse, while some states have started to take applications ahead of Treasury approval, Florida has not.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the same agency in charge of unemployment, is also in charge of this fund. The head of the agency, Dane Eagle did not answer questions about the delay, with a staffer from the Governor’s office directing questions to the US Treasury.

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Treasury officials did not respond to questions.

“We were one of the last states to apply, but we will follow up,” said Congressman Darren Soto (D) FL 09 indicating Florida dragged its feet in pulling down federal dollars as it has done with previous funds. “We think we can pull this out of the fire, like the others, but it would really help if the state would stop playing as much politics with the American rescue plan funding”

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