Florida homeowners still waiting for COVID-19 relief funds

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — More than a year after President Joe Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan and more than two months after the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity opened its portal for pre-applications, Florida homeowners impacted by COVID-19, Florida homeowners are still waiting.

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As part of the ARP, the state has $670 million for homeowners who can show financial hardship due to COVID-19.

“I wish I could say how much longer I’ll be waiting, but I just don’t know,” said homeowner Scott Silver.

READ: Florida’s homeowner’s insurance market continues to spiral with 9 companies in liquidation

On Feb. 28, the DEO launched its registration portal for prospective applicants to the Homeowner Assistance Fund. That same day Scott registered; he’s still waiting.

“I have a preregistration number and that is about it,” said Scott, who can’t even fill out an application until his preregistration goes through.

READ: Florida homeowner’s insurance market in free fall as costs climb and benefits sink

In an email to Nine Investigates, DEO press secretary Morgan R. Jones pointed out that Florida was one just 12 states to launch a pilot program for the money, writing in part that, “Since the launch of the portal, more than 18,000 homeowners have registered. Homeowners who completed registration and are deemed eligible through the review process will be notified as soon as the application is available.”

DEO would not say how many of the 18,000 it has processed or how long it could take to process applications for the money.

READ: Nonprofit group helps Orange County homeowners afford necessary repairs

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