Emergency Rental Assistance Program (Coming in Spring 2021)
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program, a part of the federal stimulus package passed in late December, makes available $25 billion to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The County received $21.4 million to implement this program to support renter populations earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), with households earning less than 50% of AMI given priority assistance. To determine eligibility, visit: http://www.pinellascounty.org/community/pdf/home_income_limits.pdf.
Since early January, community partners and experts have been engaged to help assess community needs and capacity and inform development of a local Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Program launch is anticipated in the spring. Renters looking for more information about the federal program can visit https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-rental-assistance-program.
Questions? View our FAQ page for more information.
Get Program Updates: Thanks for your interest in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. Keep visiting this website for the latest updates or sign up for text alerts by texting pinellasrent to 888777.
Temporary halt for residential evictions
On December 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Section 502 of Title V, Division N of that Act extended the expiration date of the CDC Order temporarily halting residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until January 31, 2021, unless extended, modified, or rescinded.
CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, further extended and modified the order until March 31, 2021.
The Order temporarily halts residential evictions of covered persons for nonpayment of rent between Sept. 4, 2020, through March 31, 2021. This means that a landlord, owner of a residential property, or other person with a legal right to pursue an eviction or a possessory action cannot evict for nonpayment of rent any covered person from any residential property in any U.S. state or U.S. territory where the Order applies.
Under the CDC’s order you must provide a copy of the declaration to your landlord, owner of the residential property where you live, or other person who has a right to have you evicted or removed from where you live. Each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract should complete this declaration.
Unless the CDC order is extended, changed, or ended, the order prevents you from being evicted or removed from where you are living through March 31, 2021.
You are still required to pay rent and follow all the other terms of your lease and rules of the place where you live. You may also still be evicted for reasons other than not paying rent or making a housing payment. This declaration is sworn testimony, meaning that you can be prosecuted, go to jail, or pay a fine if you lie, mislead, or omit important information.
For more information about the CDC eviction moratorium, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-eviction-declaration.html
Local eviction assistance
Florida’s eviction moratorium has expired, but help is available through Pinellas CARES to resolve eviction through legal mediation. If you are overdue on your rent, don’t wait until you get an eviction notice to seek help.
- Tenants – Free legal assistance is available to resolve evictions:
- Gulf Coast Legal Services Housing Stability Assistance
- Community Law Program (Pinellas Eviction Diversion Program): Call (727) 582-7475 (Landlords/Tenants)
- Bay Area Legal Services: 800-625-2257
Facing eviction? Know your rights – Read Gulfcoast Legal Services’ Tenant Rights guide.
You can also learn more about possible protections under the CDC’s Temporary Halt in Evictions
Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance
COVID-19 relief for individuals, community & businesses
After helping more than 11,000 individuals, families and businesses through direct financial assistance, Pinellas CARES programs closed on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.
After helping more than 11,000 individuals, families and businesses through direct financial assistance, Pinellas CARES individual and business assistance programs stopped accepting new applications on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.
Unemployment & Income Assistance
If you are currently out of work, the State of Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Program may be able to provide financial assistance. For information about eligibility and the application process, read the State Department of Economic Opportunity’s Frequently Asked Questions.
If you experience technical difficulties with the Reemployment Assistance online application, you can also print and fill out a paper application: ( English | Spanish | Creole ) Please note that paper applications could potentially take longer for the state to process than completing an online application.
Resources for Employers:
- Short Time Compensation Program for Employers: helps employers retain their workforce in times of temporary slowdown by encouraging work sharing as an alternative to layoff.
- SBA Debt Relief Program: The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Food Pantry/Distribution Sites
Food distribution sites across Pinellas County are offering prepared meals, groceries, and other resources for adults and children in need. Visit Feeding Tampa Bay’s Online Map of Local Food Pantries to find a site near you.
To find the closest schools that are offering meals to students during school closures, visit Summer BreakSpot.
Home Meal Delivery for Kids & Seniors
- Meals on Wheels for Kids
- Neighborly Care Network/Meals on Wheels for Seniors: Drive-thru and delivery options available for older adults 60+ with safe social distancing – Call 727-573-9444
Apply for Food & Nutrition Assistance
For food assistance, apply online for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or call 866-762-2237 or 850-300-4323 (TTY 1-800-955-8771).
Pet Care Assistance
Pet Food Pantries
The following organizations offer pet food pantries for pet owners who are facing financial hardship:
- Pinellas County Animal Services
Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
12450 Ulmerton Rd.
Largo, FL 33774
Phone: (727) 582-2600
Details: An employee will meet you at the entrance or you may call from the parking lot and an employee will come out to assist. Each citizen is limited to two bags or six cans of food per visit.
- Humane Society of Pinellas
Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
3040 State Road 590
Clearwater, FL 33759
Phone: (727) 797-7722
Details: To pick up food, knock on the door at the Humane Society’s Volunteer Village, located at their facility, and a representative will assist you and bring the food out to you.
- SPCA of Tampa Bay
Tuesdays from 1-5 p.m.
9099 130th Avenue North
Largo, FL 33773
Phone: (727) 586-3591, ext. 121
Details: Call ahead to ensure the food pantry has adequate food stocks to meet your needs. If you are planning to pick up canned food, bring plastic grocery bags to transport the food home. When you arrive for your appointment, be sure to have a valid photo ID.
Friends of Strays Safer At Home Fund (St. Petersburg residents)
Friends of Strays has partnered with Operation: SNIP, SPOT: Spay & Neuter, and Pet Food Warehouse to provide veterinary care and pet supplies at no cost to St. Petersburg residents who are out of work. The program is designed to provide those who are unable to care for their pets due to loss of income with an alternative to surrendering their animal to a shelter.
The Safer At Home Fund provides vouchers for the following goods and services:
- Cat and dog food
- Cat litter
- Flea & tick preventative
- Annual exams
- Spay/neuter surgery
- Core vaccines
Those in need of assistance can fill out a short online questionnaire on the Friends of Strays website.
Spectrum is offering qualified households low-income Internet assistance through its Spectrum Internet Assist program.
CARES Local Business Grants
Emergency grants are available for Pinellas-based businesses most affected by the pandemic – those required to shut down or whose customers were required to shut down or stop doing business. For more information, visit our Pinellas CARES Local Business Grants page.
This Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) program helps employers retain their workforce in times of temporary slowdown by encouraging work sharing as an alternative to layoff.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Resources:
- SBA Debt Relief Program: The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- SBA COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan
- For further information about these programs, please contact the SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955.
For the latest updates about resources for Pinellas County businesses, visit the Pinellas County Economic Development Council website or follow on LinkedIn. Florida businesses can also visit http://floridadisaster.biz for more information.
Mental Health & Emotional Support
The following crisis hotlines provide free, confidential support:
- 211 Tampa Bay Cares: Dial 211, Text your zip code to 898211 or visit 211tampabay.org
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 or Chat with Lifeline
- Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or visit veteranscrisisline.net
- Directions for Living is hosting an Emotional Support Call Line: (727) 524-4464, ext 1001. Line is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
- SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- Crisis Textline. Text TALK to 741741
Counseling for First Responders
Directions for Living is offering no-cost 30-minute virtual counseling sessions for first responders, including healthcare workers, EMS staff, law enforcement officers, firefighters and mental health personnel. To schedule an appointment, call 727-385-3394.
PEMHS’s Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) is providing crisis intervention services for Pinellas County residents of all ages. Their mobile team is available 24/7 on demand and consists of licensed behavioral health therapists and psychiatrists who are available to assist via telehealth or in person while practicing social distancing. A team can be dispatched to the location of the crisis with a target response time of 60 minutes from the time of the call. Call 727-362-4424 to reach the MCRT.
- Evaluation and assessment
- Development of safety or crisis plans
- Providing or facilitating stabilization services
- Supportive Crisis Counseling
- Education: development of coping skills
- Linkage to appropriate resources
- Tele-health services for psychiatric care as available through partnering agencies
- Peer Support Services: involve a range of activities and interactions between people who share similar experiences of being diagnosed with behavioral health conditions.
Resources for Pregnant Women & New Parents
The Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas County is offering resources to help pregnant women and parents of babies younger than one year old during the COVID-19 outbreak. For questions about prenatal care, counseling, and other services, contact the Healthy Start Coalition using the contact information below:
Phone: 727-507-4260 (Leave a voicemail with your name and number)
Resources for Seniors
AAAPP Operational Updates
The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas lobby is open 9am – 4:30pm daily for all deliveries, including mail, packages, overnight deliveries and all submissions related to the OAA RFP process. The office remains closed to the general public. All critical services will continue to be available by phone.
- Our Helpline and Intake/Screening/Medicaid teams remain open during normal business hours. You can reach us at 1-800-963-5337 or 727-217-8111 for out of area callers.
- Our nutrition providers remain available. Home meal delivery is being completed with six feet of distance to protect the elder receiving the meal and congregate dining has transitioned into drive-through dining services. Drive through meal options are readily available for any older adult 60+. To sign up, call Neighborly (Pinellas residents) at 727-573-9444 or Pasco Senior Services (Pasco residents) at 727-834-3340.
- Our SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) and Senior Victim Advocacy/Elder Abuse teams are available for support and assistance via telephone only. You can reach both programs via the Helpline number above.
- Our case management teams are continuing to coordinate & provide services wherever possible to individuals, but have put in place extra precautions to avoid the spread of the disease.
- Adult day care, senior center programming, and other community sites are largely suspended. Check with the direct provider or municipality for updates on site closures. Update: Claude Pepper and Crescent ADCs in Pasco County have reopened with very limited (<10 individuals, staff and clients included) capacity.
- IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR COVID-19 INFO OR RESOURCES: Our Helpline team continues to update this spreadsheet with available resources as they are sent to us. We encourage community members to review and use this listing as a referral source. As capacity at local organizations is constantly changing due to the virus, we cannot verify all of these resources are readily available. However, this listing is a great place to start in your search.
Community Operations and Updates
- Department of Children and Families storefronts, Social Security offices, and many municipal offices are closed or suspended at this time. Many are still offering information and support via telephone – check with the specific provider for details. DCF Economic Self Sufficiency Program Information available in English – Spanish – Haitian Creole.
- The Alzheimer’s Association’s Brain Bus has gone virtual. Flyer with full information available here.
- Transportation services for those who need it are available through Find a Ride Florida.
- PSTA has currently suspended all fees for riders until further notice to assist with social distancing practices. Route updates can be found on the PSTA website.
Contact 211 Tampa Bay Cares by texting your zip code to 898211 or dialing 211 (available 24 hours a day).