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A new rental assistance fund from the nonprofit JFS Orlando is offering help to residents of unincorporated Orange County.  The charity — formerly known as Jewish Family Services — has been awarded a $500,000 grant in CARES Act funds for the program. Called JFS Orlando Cares, the relief effort can provide up to two months of rent to qualifying residents. Residents don’t need to be Jewish to apply.

    • “We know that a lot of people are desperate right now," said Heather Petrusky, the charity’s assistant director. “But the last thing we want is to make people jump through these hoops for no reason, so we try to spell out all the requirements in advance.” Applicants will need to provide a copy of their formal lease or rental agreement and submit a self-disclosure form on how they’ve been impacted by COVID.

    • To be eligible, applicants:

    • Must have lived in Orange County for the past 12 consecutive months and currently live in unincorporated Orange County.

    • Have income below 80% of the area median — which is no more than $40,750 a year for an individual or $58,150 for a family of four.

    • Must have lost their job or had their hours or income cut because of the pandemic’s impact on the economy or because they were infected with the virus.

    • Cannot live in Section 8 subsidized housing.

    • Must be at least one month past due on rent.

    • Cannot be receiving rental assistance from another source — such as Orange County’s CARES Act program or the Heart of Florida United Way — for the same months.

    • Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.  You can apply online at

Updated 10/28/2020

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