Financial help will soon be available to Pinellas County residents who are facing eviction or at risk for homelessness due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal grant money available through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide financial assistance for individuals and families who have lost their jobs or have had a significant reduction in income due to the pandemic. Funds will cover missed rent payments as well as future rent costs.

Tenants who are overdue on rent should not wait for an eviction notice to seek help and may already be eligible for financial assistance. Eligible Pinellas County residents will be able to apply starting March 31 at: www.bit.ly/pc-rent.

Residents can prepare now by checking their eligibility and preparing any documents needed to apply. More information to help residents prepare can be found at: www.bit.ly/pc-rent.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is funded by the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, with $21.4 million allotted for Pinellas County’s program.

Eligible recipients of the programs must be renter households in which one or more individuals meet the following criteria:

• Qualifies for unemployment, experienced a significant reduction in income and/or experienced significant financial hardship due to COVID-19

• Is behind on rent payments or at risk of missing a rent payment, and

• Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income, with priority given to households below 50% of the AMI

To check household AMI eligibility, renters should visit: www.bit.ly/rental-ami

Funds received by eligible applicants must be used to cover past rent payments back to March 13, first, before they receive additional rental assistance to cover up to 12 months of future payments. Rent payments will be made directly to the landlords or property managers of successful applicants.

Details about Pinellas County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including the list of documents required with residents’ applications, can be found on the County’s COVID-19 website at: www.bit.ly/pc-rent

To receive text message updates about Pinellas County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including a notification when the application opens, residents can text pinellasrent to 888777.