Orange County’s Rental Assistance Program underestimated needs of community, mayor says

ORLANDO, Fla. — As more people lose their jobs around Central Florida, they are turning to the government for help paying their bills.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said the county underestimated the needs of the community after offering its rental assistance program.

Demings said they put together a program that worked with what the budget would allow for.

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But now, he's asking county staff to look at the demand and see what other options they can come up with, without having to use reserves.

Orange County's Rental Assistance Program was created to help about 1,500 families with a budget of $1.8 million, but more than 26,000 people applied for help.

Each person or family can receive up to $1,200, depending on their situation.

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Once someone is approved, the county says a check will be cut within one to three weeks.

Qualified applicants will have an appointment with the county and will need to verify the financial impact on their household.

People need to have their pay stubs and current bank statement, a letter from their employer, and show verification of their legal status.

Another county fund is being set up to help people pay for their utilities.