The Florida Department of Children and Families on Monday announced the launch of OUR Florida, or Opportunities for Utilities and Rental Assistance. OUR Florida is accepting applications at www.OURFlorida.com for qualified low-income renters who have qualified for unemployment, experienced loss of income and financial hardships due to COVID and who are at risk of losing their home or living in unstable conditions.
The program provides eligible applicants assistance with past due utilities. Payments must be made directly to utility companies. All payments for utilities and home energy costs must be supported by a bill, or invoice in the name of the tenant reflecting the address for each qualifying utility for a period after April 1, 2020. Utilities and home energy costs that are covered by the landlord are treated as rent. The applicant is not required to apply for or receive rental assistance in order to request assistance for utility arrearages. Utility assistance may be provided for households receiving rental assistance under tenant-based or project-based Section 8, other HUD rental assistance or a USDA Rural Development rental assistance program, living in a public housing unit, or already receiving emergency rental assistance from another source. Utility and/or home energy arrearages may cover a period equal to or less than fifteen (15) months and must only be paid in arrears. Utility assistance details are available at https://www.ourflorida.com/applicant-assistance/utilities/.