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Broward commissioners focus on federal funding distribution for pandemic recovery

Broward to start accepting online applications for rental assistance program starting Aug. 31

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County commissioners met on Tuesday to talk about who will benefit from millions in federal funding during the coronavirus pandemic.

In June, commissioners voted to accept over $340.7 million in federal funding through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security grant fund, better known as the CARES Act.

The funding applies to eligible expenses incurred from March 1 to Dec. 31. Commissioners said more than $100 million will be distributed among 31 municipalities, including 24 cities.

“Our residents are hurting,” Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness said in a statement.

Aside from the $100 million, Holness said Broward has $62 million that will be allocated to programs to help keep some residents from being evicted and to prevent small businesses from having to close.

According to Lori Shepard, a spokeswoman for Broward County, $25 million in federal CARES funding will help residents pay portions of unpaid rent for the months of April, May, June, July and August. The online application process opens Aug. 31 and closes Sept. 6.

Applicants must be Broward residents and document a loss of income and an inability to afford the cost of the rent. The landlord has to agree to receive 75% of the amount due for the first and second month, and 60% for the 3rd, 4th and 5th months.

A portion of the funding will also be distributed among cities through the Community Development Block Grant, which funds anti-poverty programs such as rent assistance and senior meals.

Holness and Administrator Birtha Henry also discussed the Florida Department of Health data on COVID-19 cases and testing positivity rates. Broward has had a two-week period of rates being below 10%.

Holness plans to meet with Broward County’s city mayors this week to discuss the coronavirus pandemic rules and the needs for funding.

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