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Resident Resources During COVID-19

Posted By: William Jaycox Industry News ,

Due to the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19, federal, state, and local governments have developed many assistance programs for those affected by the virus. In an effort to assist residents, we have provided a brief overview of some federal, state, and county-specific programs aimed to assist residents who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. 

Note: This list is not all encompassing. Please contact your local county government for more information.

Federal Assistance

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package containing a host of tax and economic provisions intended to help both businesses and individuals. To learn more about the CARES Act, please take a look at this FAQ. 

Direct Cash Payments

Every American with a valid Social Security number making less than $75,000 a year ($150,000 for married couples) will receive $1,200 each, and an additional $500 for each child. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000 a year, will receive a partial payment. Your income levels will be based on your 2018 tax return, or your 2019 tax return if you’ve already filed this year. To find out how much you may receive, please click here

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

This program expands upon the state’s unemployment benefits. States may administer an extra $600 weekly payment to eligible people who are receiving regular unemployment benefits. It also provides payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (ie. self-employed, independent contractors, limited work history) who are now unable to work as a direct result of the COVID-19 health emergency. In order to apply for these benefits you must first apply for regular unemployment through the State of Florida’s Reemployment Assistance program. To apply for Florida’s Reemployment Assistance, please click here. To learn more about Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, please visit the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Relief During COVID-19 Outbreak page

Federal Aid for Small Businesses

  • Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program provides low-interest, long-term disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters in order to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster damaged property. For more information, please click here
  • Paycheck Protection Program provides loans up to $10 million to assist with job retention and is available for small businesses and other eligible organizations as well as those who are self-employed and independent contractors.
  • Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit for employers who kept their employees on the payroll, despite economic hardship caused by COVID-19. The tax credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages paid to an employee, with the maximum credit being $5,000 per employee. 

Note: Note: The SBA announced the following statement on April 16th, "SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding." This announcement also includes the Paycheck Protection Program. On April 24th, Congress replenished the EIDL program and the Paycheck Protection Program. 

State Assistance

Reemployment Assistance

Reemployment Assistance provides financial assistance and reemployment services to those unemployed in the State of Florida. Please click here to learn more about Reemployment Assistance. To apply for Florida’s Reemployment Assistance, please click here.*

*Unfortunately, due to current circumstances, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has reported issues with filing initial claims because the agency's online system keeps crashing and the call center is overloaded. In response to these issues, the DEO has allowed residents to download the application from the agency's site and mail it in. Residents can also go to CareerSource locations, which provide the applications and assist them with submitting it. To find your local CareerSource Center, please click here. FedEx is also offering free printing and mailing of the forms at more than 100 storefronts across the state

Short Time Compensation

Short-Time Compensation (STC) permits pro-rated Reemployment Assistance benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a STC plan to avoid total layoff of some employees. Please click here to learn more. 

Small Business Assistance

  • Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan assists small business owners located in all Florida counties that have experienced economic damage as a result of COVID-19. These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time an emergency strikes and the time a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.

Note: As of April 15th, the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program no longer has funds to provide futher loans. This will be updated should more funds become available.

  • Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) announced on April 6th that it will suspend initial fees for its Microfinance Guarantee Program to support Florida’s small business community impacted by COVID-19. EFI manages the Microfinance Guarantee Program designed to stimulate access to credit for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this state by providing targeted loan guarantees to lenders made to such entrepreneurs and small businesses. This program provides guarantees up to 50% on loans of $250,000 or less.

Local Utilities

Duke Energy has temporarily suspended disconnections for non-payment and is waiving late payment fees. 

County Specific Assistance

Please refer to the local financial assitance page for a more updated list. The page can be accessed here

Alachua County

  • Alachua County provides recent local news and information regarding COVID-19 on their Coronavirus Resource page.
  • The city of Gainesville provides Local FAQs for COVID-19.
  • Gainesville Regional Utilities has temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment and begun waiving late fees through to the end of April 
  • Gainesville’s Bread of the Mighty Food Bank partners with Feeding America by providing food to families in need. 
  • Gainesville's GNVCARES program is designed to assist households who are in the extremely-low, very-low, low, and moderate income categories that were financially impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic with temporary rent/mortgage and utility payments for up to 6 months, not to exceed $2,500. Please click here to learn more. 
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources.
  • Gainesville Catholic Charities - As funding allows, may have money to pay rent if someone has an eviction notice. A number of low income programs are offered to families in a crisis situation. Number for rent & utility assistance is (352) 224-6444

Baker County

  • Baker county provides recent localized information regarding COVID-19 on their homepage.
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Bradford County

  • Bradford County provides recent local news and information regarding COVID-19 on their Emergency Management page
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Columbia County

  • Columbia County provides recent local news and information regarding COVID-19 on their homepage.
  • Lake City’s Florida Gateway Food Bank partners with Feeding America by providing food to families in need.
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Dixie County

  • Dixie County provides recent local news and information regarding COVID-19 on their Emergency Services page.
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources.

Gilchrist County

  • Gilchrist County provides recent local news and information regarding COVID-19 on their COVID-19 Resource Center page.
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Lafayette County

  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Marion County

  • Marion County provides recent local news and information regarding COVID-19 on their COVID-19 page.
  • The Ocala/Marion Chamber and Economic Partnership has established a loan program to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. 
  • Marion County Utilities has suspended all shut-offs for customers suffering economic hardship. 
  • SECO Energy has established payment arrangements and are waiving late payment fees.   
  • Ocala’s First Step Food Bank, Inc partners with Feeding America by providing food to families in need. 
  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Union County

  • United Way helps provide assistance with rent, utilities, food, toiletries and gas (as needed) to families who are struggling as a result of COVID-19. Please visit your Local United Way website for more resources. 

Other National Programs

Another Round Another Rally

  • Another Round Another rally provides grants to chefs, servers, bartenders, dishwashers, sommeliers, managers or someone who holds any other type of hospitality role, they may be able to help. Another Round Another Rally is offering $500 relief grants for hospitality workers who lost their jobs or had their hours slashed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. To apply for a grant, please click here.

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

  • The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program provides relief to bartenders and others in the service industry who have been affected by COVID-19. To learn more, please click here

Feeding America

Golden Rule Charity

  • The Golden Rule Charity provides grants to hospitality workers in need. To learn more, please click here

Resident Relief Foundation

  • The Resident Relief Foundation provides rental assistance for residents who are facing eviction for the first time. Please click here for more information. 

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

  • The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund helps restaurant industry employees who are experiencing hardship as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been financially impacted by COVID-19, whether it was through a decrease in wages or loss of employment. If you would like to donate to this fund or learn more about it, please click here

United Way Fund

  • United Way assists local organizations in helping those affected by COVID-19. United Way has local organizations with local funds all across the state. To find your local United Way, please click here
  • Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) Fund. The ALICE Fund provides rent, mortgage and utility assistance to help prevent eviction and homelessness.