Pandemic relief: Florida offers $800-million to help pay past-due rent and utilities

The Florida Department of Children and Families is looking to distribute more than $800 million in federal aid to help low-income renters economically affected by the coronavirus pandemic pay past-due rent and utilities. 

Department Secretary Shevaun Harris announced Tuesday the agency was starting to accept applications for an emergency program called "OUR Florida" that focuses on low-income renters whose household incomes meet certain thresholds. 

Renters who have experienced losses of income, faced financial hardships due to the pandemic, are at risk of losing their residences or can show they live in unhealthy conditions might also be eligible. 

In a news release, Harris said "this program will provide a safety net to keep families stable and in their homes." 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued $1.4 billion to Florida for rental assistance, of which $529 million went directly to local governments with populations topping 200,000. The remaining amount will be disbursed by the state.

LINK: Determine eligibility and apply at