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State approves $75 million for rental and mortgage assistance amid pandemic

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Apopka on July 17, 2020.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference in Apopka on July 17, 2020. (WPLG)

APOPKA, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Friday afternoon at an apartment complex in Central Florida, where he announced that the state has approved $75 million from the money it received from the CARES Act to go to counties to provide rental and mortgage assistance to those in need.

The governor said a total of $250 million has already been approved to help with affordable housing throughout the state.

During the press briefing, the governor also praised Florida’s unemployment rate, which dropped to 10.4% in June from the previous month’s 13.7%, although he acknowledged that there are still many people who are struggling to find work.

The drop reflects the reopening of the state’s theme parks, restaurants, bars and other tourism-related businesses after weeks of coronavirus-related lockdowns.

But economists said Friday that the state’s economic future remains clouded by recent spikes in Florida’s COVID-19 caseload.

That is evidenced by this week’s showing that jobless claims almost doubled last week from the previous week.

Additionally, a host of large hotels have said that they are turning temporary furloughs from March into permanent layoffs at the end of July.

Year-over-year, the hospitality industry has lost more than 1 in 5 jobs in Florida.

About the Authors:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.