Links on this page are continually updated. Last update October 10, 2020.
Need assistance with your rent, mortgage, or utility bills? Now there’s federally-funded help for people affected by COVID-19. These grants don’t need to be repaid.
Many city and county governments in Florida set up locally-funded CARES programs last spring to provide grants to their residents. Most of the programs we looked at offer help with rent, mortgage payments, and utilities, but a few also cover additional expenses like cellphone, Internet, vehicle, food, and childcare. Many of those programs are now closed, or are running short of funds. But there’s a fresh infusion of money on the way!
CARES Act Individual & Family Aid Can Help
The CARES Act established a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for states, counties, and cities to cover unexpected costs incurred during the period of March 1–December 30, 2020 due to COVID-19. The state of Florida received $8.328 billion from this fund, and Governor DeSantis allocated $120 million of this to local communities who in turn help their residents directly.
It’s important to realize that CARES Act programs aren’t the only way you can get help with living expenses; many municipalities and counties also have existing housing assistance programs. There are separate local CARES Act programs for small businesses and the self-employed that may cover expenses for gig or contract workers if you have a home-based office. And, some localities offer Eviction Prevention programs. We recommend you apply sequentially for every program you can find; you may qualify for more than one as time goes by.
What’s different about CARES Act individual & family assistance grants is that:
- They’re designed specifically to meet needs caused by COVID-19
- Local communities have some flexibility in setting their own eligibility requirements
- It’s time-limited; the CARES Act specifies that these grants can only pay for expenses incurred from March 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020
- These programs will expire unless Congress allocates more money to the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund and/or extends deadlines for the grants to cities and counties
Who’s Eligible for COVID-19 CARES Grants
Generally, you must be a local resident individual or family, have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency, and meet income guidelines. Depending on where you live, you could qualify for $1500 to $10,000 in grant aid. You can apply for a CARES Act grant whether you’re receiving unemployment benefits or not, as long as you meet the other qualifications.
Stimulus Checks Won’t Exclude You from Eligibility
When completing your application, don’t report the value of any COVID-19 stimulus checks you received, such as the $1200/person and $500/child. These Economic Impact Payments are not countable as income or savings for federally-funded government programs for a period of 12 months after receipt.
When will CARES Act Grants be Available?
Many programs are already open and accepting applications. Several rounds of funding are distributed to localities by the state, so when initial rounds are depleted, more funds may be on the way. Here’s a list of the local government Application Start Dates. If your local program is not currently accepting applications, don’t despair and keep checking back.
Florida CARES Act Grants by City
If you live within city limits, check our list of individual cities offering assistance through CARES. If your city isn’t participating, apply through the county where you live.
Boca Raton | Bradenton | Boynton Beach | Cape Coral | Cocoa | Coral Springs |
Daytona Beach | Davie | Deerfield Beach | Deltona | Delray Beach |
Ft. Lauderdale* | Ft. Myers | Gainesville | Hialeah Mortgage or Rent & Utilities |
Hollywood | Kissimmee | Lakeland | Largo | Lauderhill |
Melbourne | Miami Mortgage or Rent | Miami Beach | Miami Gardens |
Miramar | North Miami | Ocala | Orlando | Palm Bay | Pembroke Pines |
Pensacola | Plantation* | Pompano Beach | Port St. Lucie | Punta Gorda |
Sarasota City | St. Petersburg | Sunrise | Tallahassee | Tamarac |
Tampa | Titusville* | West Palm Beach | Winter Haven | Winter Park
*Ft. Lauderdale: Call 1-800-579-4119 between 9:00AM-5:00PM
*Plantation: email MBCAdmin1@minoritybuilders.org or call 954-792-1121 ext. 23 or 26
*Titusville: call 321-567-3997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida CARES Act Grants by County
Alachua | Baker | Bay | Bradford | Brevard | Broward
Calhoun | Charlotte | Citrus | Clay | Collier | Columbia
DeSoto | Dixie | Duval | Escambia | Flagler | Franklin
Gadsden | Gilchrist | Glades | Gulf | Hamilton | Hardee | Hendry
Hernando | Highlands | Hillsborough | Holmes | Indian River
Jackson | Jefferson |Lafayette | Lake | Lee | Leon | Levy | Liberty
Madison | Manatee | Marion | Martin | Miami-Dade | Monroe
Nassau | Okaloosa | Okeechobee | Orange | Osceola
Palm Beach | Pasco | Pinellas | Polk | Putnam | Santa Rosa | Sarasota
Seminole | St. Johns | St. Lucie | Sumter | Suwannee | Taylor | Union
Volusia | Wakulla | Walton | Washington
If you can’t find your location in our lists above, find your local State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program and contact them for more information, or call Florida Housing’s toll-free Coronavirus Relief Fund Information Line at 1-888-362-7885. You can also call 211 for information on government and nonprofit organizations that may be offering help.
Help Us Keep Our Lists Current
Know of any CARES grants we missed? Let us know in the comments below. And we’d love to hear if you got help, too!