Polk County offers rental and mortgage assistance to those affected by the pandemic

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County is providing much-needed financial assistance to people who are behind on rent or mortgage payments.

Applications are available from Tuesday Polk County website and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on December 31.

Within hours, the county had already received more than 1,500 applications.

“We know there is a great need out there, and the need for funding will not match. So we didn’t want it to be open too long to give false hope, which is why it’s only open for three days,” said Tamara West, Polk County Housing and Neighborhood Development Manager. .

West estimates the county will be able to help more than 700 people.

“The maximum reward they can receive is $5,000 over six months of overdue rent or mortgage. We estimate that each household will cost around $3,500, which is why we estimate around 725 customers that we think we can serve,” West said.

The county is using $2.5 million of remaining Cares Act funding to help residents who are behind on rent or mortgage payments.

“Hopefully this fills that gap, that people don’t have to be evicted or foreclosure processes to start on their homes,” West said.

To qualify, people must be a resident of Polk County. They must also meet income requirements and be impacted by the pandemic, job loss, loss of hours, or if you have fallen ill with the coronavirus.

Documents needed to apply for assistance include:

• Florida driver’s license for applicant and co-applicant
• Provide proof of loss due to COVID-19
• Current lease or mortgage statement in the name of the applicant/co-applicant
• Current utility bill (water or electricity)
• Current bank statement
• Most recent payslip or unemployment letter
• Form W-9 from your landlord, property manager, or mortgage company

The new money is only available to Polk County residents who live outside the Lakeland city limits.

Assistance will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.