Experts to explain rent, utility assistance in Palm Beach County

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 7:51 AM EDT
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At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Palm Beach County Community Services Department launched the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The ERA was first launched to help those directly impacted by the pandemic and has helped nearly 20,000 families pay for their rent and utilities.

James Green, director of the Community Services Department, said two years later, the county is still looking to help, but their assistance is not limited to those directly impacted by the pandemic. Green said they are receiving numerous calls every day with people needing help after their rent has increased by 50-100%.

"We understand that, especially seniors, and those who are on a fixed income, that they are going to have some really significant difficulties being able to meet that obligation," Green said.

The Community Service Department is hosting a countywide community revitalization team virtual public meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The meeting will give residents of Palm Beach County and unincorporated Palm Beach County an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the ERA program.

Green said the county has $27 million available in ERA funding, and they want to make sure residents know how to ask for help.

"It has been a God-send. It has prevented a number of evictions from occurring," Green said. "A lot of people who have nowhere else to go were able to stay in their homes and continue to support their families throughout the pandemic."

To qualify for funding through the ERA, Green said families need a household income at or below 80 percent of the area medium income. For a one-person household in Palm Beach County, Green said that's about $49,000 per year.

Additionally, applicants need to prove they've recently experienced a hardship.

Join the meeting by clicking here or join by phone at 844-621-3956 with the access code 2303 594 0929.

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