SARASOTA, FL – As the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, there are many community members who are struggling to pay their rent and utilities each month. To better reach and assist those people, Goodwill Manasota is providing space at its Selby/Newtown Job Connection office (1781 Dr. Martin Luther King Way, Sarasota) Mondays through Fridays, so that residents can receive help in applying for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funding.
Sarasota County received $13 million in federal aid to help residents dealing with pandemic-related financial hardships. Renters at a certain level of earnings (80% of the area median income) who are facing homelessness or housing instability due to COVID-19 impacts may receive this assistance. Those who earn 50% or less of the area median income will be given priority. This funding – which can provide up to 12 months of rental and utility assistance to eligible individuals, plus an additional three months if needed to ensure stable housing – is available in Sarasota through $25 billion in U.S. Department of the Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance funding.
The City of Sarasota has trained four ERAP Ambassadors (and is seeking to bring more on board) to help residents complete the ERAP application and upload required documentation, and collect data regarding the number of people served at Goodwill. Sarasota County is providing program administration, training and ongoing technical support as well as the equipment (computers, portable scanners and cell phones) necessary for the effort.
The agreement also references the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Goodwill’s protocols regarding social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing, to keep community members safe.
The ERAP services began on May 5 and will be available to residents through April 30, 2022.
“While it may appear that the economy is on the rebound, for too many who were already at risk before COVID-19, the struggle has only intensified,” said Margie Genter, Goodwill Manasota vice president. “We are happy to offer space at our Selby/Newtown location so that residents can get the help they need to remain in their homes and stay current on their utility bills.”
Walk-ins are welcome; ERAP services are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.