Putnam cares

Individual/Household Assistance Grant Program Information and FAQs

The Putnam County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has opened the Individual/Household Assistance Grant program funded by the CARES Act. United Way of St. Johns has been designated to process the applications that are submitted.

Individual/Household Assistance Grant Program:  Provides up to a maximum of $2,500 in assistance to households impacted by COVID-19. Utilizing funding Putnam County received through the CARES Act, this program provides financial assistance in the form of mortgage, rental, and utility assistance to individuals and families financially impacted by COVID-19. This is a grant program, so no repayment is required. This grant has a deadline of Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, at 5:00 PM or until funds are depleted. This is a first come, first serve opportunity.

Q. How do I apply?

The best way to apply is online at this link – bit.ly/putnamcares. Applications are available in English and Spanish and must be submitted online. The second option is to contact United Way of St. Johns at (904) 829-9721 to ask for assistance. Paper applications are not available.

Q. What can the funds be used for?

Funding must be spent on activities necessary due to the COVID‐19 emergency. Activities such as rental and mortgage assistance payments for persons who have experienced a hardship that prevents them from making these payments are eligible uses. In Putnam County, the funds can be used for rent or mortgage payments for your primary residence and/or utility payments associated with your primary residence.

Q. What are ineligible uses?

Any expenses other than household rental payments, household mortgage payments, or utility payments associated with your primary residence is prohibited. Also, payment of expenses prior to March 1, 2020, and after December 30, 2020. Expenses prohibited by the CARES Act.

Q. Who is eligible to apply?

Individuals, up to one per household, who can demonstrate financial hardship directly as a result of COVID-19 are eligible to receive a one-time grant up to a maximum amount of $2,500 to assist with qualified expenses.

Q. How long will this take?

Expect up to 4 weeks for the funds to be processed. You will receive notice if you are approved or denied. Please do not call for updates, administrators will not be able to answer and are working as quickly as possible.

Q. Do I have to demonstrate financial hardship?

Yes. You will have to provide pay stubs validating loss of income OR a notice from your employer on company letterhead stating you have been laid off, furloughed, or had a reduction in work hours due to COVID-19. You can also provide your unemployment statement OR your denied unemployment application.

Q. Can I provide a tax return?

Yes, you can provide your W-9 or 2019 Income Tax Return as documentation and can be used specifically if self-employed.

Q. Do I have to provide documentation of the expenses?

Yes, you will need copies of utility bills in your name OR copy of mortgage agreement AND you will need a copy of delinquent bills to be paid, and/or copy of bills paid by applicant and sought for reimbursement.

Q. Do I have to be a resident of Putnam County?

Yes. Proof of residency is required by valid Florida ID or Florida drivers license OR utility/rent bill with your name and address on it and government issued photo ID.

Q. Is there a deadline?

Yes. The deadline is Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, at 5:00 PM or until funds expire. This is a first come, first serve opportunity.

Q. How much can an applicant receive?

Applicants can receive a maximum of $2,500 per household.

Q. How will the eligible recipients be determined?

Eligible applicants will be processed on a first come, first serve basis. The processing portal opened on Thursday, October 22. Applications are numbered sequentially when entered into the portal.  Applications will be reviewed as submitted until the maximum number of eligible applications are processed and/or funds are depleted.

Q. How will I know if I my application has been approved?

Applicants will be notified of your award by email. Please do not call for updates, administrators are working as quickly as possible.

Q. Will I be notified if my application is deemed ineligible and/or incomplete?

Yes. You will receive an email or phone call regarding ineligible or incomplete applications.

Q. What if I have left something out or made a mistake? Will I have an opportunity to resubmit?

During review, if it is determined that your application is incomplete you will be notified by email or telephone and provided an opportunity to submit the incomplete information. No processing can continue until the correct information is provided. Any delay in response could jeopardize the ability for funding.

Q. What if I cannot upload documents?

Information that cannot be uploaded can be hand-delivered to 509 Crill Avenue, Suite 200, Palatka, FL 32177 in an envelope labeled: Attention – United Way.

Q. Do I have to be delinquent to justify providing mortgage or rental assistance? 

No. Bills do not have to be delinquent to receive assistance.

Q. If funds are awarded, who does the local government write the check to?

The check will be paid to the landlord, management company or mortgage company, and/or utility company.

Q. Where can I get help completing my application?

If you need assistance with completing your application, you can contact United Way at (904) 829-9721 or email cares@putnamcountyfl.com.

Q. What are some examples of an applicant who has been affected by COVID-19?

Applicants that have been unemployed, furloughed, or otherwise have experienced a reduction in income due to the economic effects of COVID‐19 will be eligible. Persons who were unemployed prior to the COVID‐19 pandemic can also be eligible if they attest to the fact that COVID‐19 has negatively affected their job prospects.

Q. Can owners/renters of older mobile homes (before 1994) receive assistance?

Yes. Renters/owners of older mobile homes may be assisted with rent and mortgage payments.

Q. If there are two names on a lease and only one of them has lost their job, is assistance available? Also, what about sub‐leases? If there are two names on a lease (couple) that rent out an additional room and the additional member has lost his/her job but is not on lease? Is there help?

Yes. If one person in the household is unemployed or under employed, they may be eligible for assistance subject to other eligibility requirements. If the additional household member (renting the room) is part of the same household, there is only assistance one time per household.

Q. Can assistance be given to an applicant that rents a room in a unit? Does that qualify?

Yes, as long as the person renting the room has a valid lease.

Q. If the applicant has recently received SHIP COVID, CARES Act, or other types of assistance, are they able to apply for Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) assistance?

Yes. If they continue to have a COVID‐related hardship, CRF could help them with their next months of rent or mortgage payments as long as there is no duplication of benefits.

Q. What is the Coronavirus Relief Fund?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, is a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 116th U.S. Congress and signed into law in March 2020 in response to the economic fallout of the COVID‐19 pandemic in the United States.

Q. How long does Putnam County have to spend the funds?

All funds must be expended no later than December 30, 2020. Any eligible activities that occur between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 are CRF eligible.

Q. What happens to funds that are not expended by the deadline?

All funds that are not expended by December 30, 2020 will be returned to Florida Housing and in turn to the U.S. Treasury Department.