People say they’ve been waiting since May 12 to get their second round of rental assistance.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There are people right now on the edge of eviction because the Our Florida Rental Assistance they were approved for hasn’t showed up.
Our Florida is still running, but as for the delays the Florida Department of Children and Families services has yet to answer questions about the program’s status.
The website states that the program will continue until funds run out. Where is the money that was promised to keep Floridians with a roof over their head?
“I’m just scared to death of losing my place… Of losing everything I’ve worked so hard for,” said Veronica Jaeger.
Jaeger is doubtful her emergency rental assistance will ever show. She’s been waiting since May 12.
“I’m literally almost hitting brink of poverty, possible eviction,” Jaeger said. “My biggest concern is what is going to happen next? I’ve managed to get up from being homeless 11 years ago, but I’m to the point where I’ve managed to get up and finally get a hold of my life. I’d hate to slide back down to that point.”
Our Florida Rental Assistance program has claimed to help hundreds of thousands of Floridians stay in their homes. The application process for the program is now closed, but the program is ongoing because those who were approved for help were supposed to be able to recertify and continue getting help until funds run out.
“It makes you wonder, do they even care how their negligence is affecting other people?,” Jaeger asked.
People like Jaeger are stuck in Limbo. Landlords are waiting for checks.
Eviction is in sight. Answers are no where to be found.
“Call center employees start calling me, reaching out to me saying hey this program is a mess and this is what’s really going on,” Vanessa Brito said.
Community Activist Vanessa Brito is sharing messages from Our Florida call center employees saying they’ve been furloughed because call volumes decreased. Yet applicants say they can’t reach anyone.
Some people say call centers have closed.
I drove to the closest Our Florida call center location listed: Gainesville, Florida. I went inside and briefly spoke with a representative.
There is in fact an Our Florida representative working at the location. The representative confirms she is the only one at that location working for Our Florida and that there used to be more people working there to help.
If the program is still running, why are approved applicants not getting the help they need?
“There’s never been any clear answer,” Brito explains.
As I wait for answers from the Florida Department of Children and Families services, which oversees Our Florida, Brito recommends people file an official complaint with the Department of Treasury if you are dealing with these issues.
You can also file a complaint directly with Our Florida.