With COVID-19 continuing to cause extreme hardships for many in Palm Beach County, I often hear from residents who are deeply worried about paying their bills, especially for housing and utilities. Fortunately, there is help available locally, and I am pleased to share these important program details with you.
Palm Beach County CARES for Housing Mortgage Assistance Program
Palm Beach County is offering mortgage assistance through its CARES for Housing Program. Funding will provide assistance to income eligible households who are at least one month delinquent in their mortgage and escrow payments and other mortgage-associated costs related to COVID-19. The program provides up to four months of mortgage payments, not to exceed $10,000. Please see specific program requirements at Mortgage Assistance Program. Applications for the Mortgage Assistance Program are accepted online. IMPORTANT: The deadline to apply for the mortgage assistance program, Aug. 15, is approaching quickly.
Palm Beach County Coronavirus Relief Fund Rent and Utilities Assistance Program
If you are having trouble making rental and utility payments, the county’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Rent and Utilities Assistance Program can help. One-time rental and/or utility assistance is available to residents who have experienced loss of income, reduction in hours or unemployment due to COVID-19. The funds are available to applicants who live in apartments, houses, townhomes or mobile homes. This program provides up to $7,000 or three months in late payments to eligible applicants. See specific program requirements at Rent and Utilities Assistance Program.
Applications for the Rent and Utilities Assistance Program are accepted online and by drive-thru at the County’s Community Services Department offices in West Palm Beach and Riviera Beach. Call (561) 355-4792 to make or confirm appointments and learn about drive-thru hours. For those who do not have access to a computer, Palm Beach County libraries are open. Applicants may visit a county library to use a computer.
FPL is committed to helping its customers who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Since mid-March, the company has suspended disconnections for non-payment and continues to waive late fees and additional payment extensions to help customers manage past-due balances. Customers may also qualify for financial assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) and FPL’s Care to Share Program.
LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills. Energy assistance is important to all that receive it, but more so if someone in your home is elderly, disabled or a young child under 6 years old. These persons are especially at risk for life threatening illness or death if their home is too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer.
Your household may be eligible to receive up to $500 during a 12-month period to help pay the FPL bill through the company’s Care to Share program. You can find more information about both programs on the FPL web site.
We Are Here to Help
A valid driver license or state identification card is required to apply for either program. If you need help obtaining a valid driver license or state ID card, visit www.pbctax.com to make an appointment for in-person service at one of our offices. Appointments are available to Palm Beach County residents only. Due to the coronavirus, we can no longer permit walk-ins.
I believe we need to do everything we can to help Palm Beach County residents and our community recover from this pandemic. These programs will help residents remain safe in their homes during this hardship.
I hope you find this information helpful and ask you to please share this information with your friends and neighbors.
Anne M. Gannon, Palm Beach County Tax Collector