Where To Get Help

Assistance available to individuals, families, small businesses and nonprofits

Facing financial hardship? Help is available now. The federal, state and local programs below are supported by the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) and other funds.

Pinellas County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program is currently closed. See below to learn more.

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Individuals, Families, Housing & Other Help

Select the help you need to learn more and apply.

County Emergency Rental Assistance Program info

Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program

After distributing $39.8 million in federal financial assistance to help more than 4,400 individuals and families, the Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program has expended all funding and is now closed
 
Pinellas County has applied for additional funding from the federal government with the goal of reopening the program. However, it is not guaranteed that the funding will be awarded to Pinellas County’s program. Updates will be posted on this webpage when they become available. 

Additional resources may be available and are listed at rent.pinellas.gov

Need to view your completed application? Visit the Neighborly application portal.

For questions about a completed application, call 855-379-3515 (Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) or email cdplanning@pinellascounty.org.

I need help finding a place to rent

The Florida Housing Coalition has a database to help renters locate available apartments in their area: https://floridahousingsearch.org/

I need to sign up for the Child Tax Credit

Child Tax Credit

Overview: The Child Tax Credit is a federal tax credit for parents with dependent children.

Who is Eligible: To be eligible for this benefit program, the child you are claiming the credit for must be under the age of 17.

Available Assistance: Each payment is up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17.

How to Apply: No application is needed. You must file your taxes using the guidelines posted on the Schedule 8812 Form 1040 or 1040A, Child Tax Credit page.

Funding Source: Internal Revenue Service

I need help making a down payment on my first home

Pinellas County has a program to assist first-time homebuyers with making their down payment. Learn more.

I need help paying for a COVID-related funeral

Overview: Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

Who is Eligible: To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • You are a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses on or after Jan. 20, 2020.
  • The funeral expenses were for an individual whose death in the United States, including the U.S. territories or the District of Columbia, may have been caused by, or was likely the result of, COVID-19.
  • For deaths that occurred after May 16, 2020, the death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • For deaths that occurred from Jan. 20 to May 16, 2020, any death certificate that does not attribute the cause of death to COVID-19 must be accompanied by a signed statement listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death.
  • The signed statement must be provided by the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.
  • The statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.

Available Assistance: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance is limited to a maximum of $9,000 per deceased individual and $35,500 per application, per state, U.S. territory, or the District of Columbia, in cases where the applicant incurred funeral expenses for multiple deceased individuals.

How to Apply: There is no online application for this program.

  • Call FEMA’s COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Helpline at 1-844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday and begin the application process.
  • For the fastest service following your application, you can begin submitting documentation online through Disasterassistance.gov, by fax 855-261-3452.
  • Documents may also be mailed to:

    COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

P.O. Box 10001

                 Hyattsville, MD 20782

Funding Source: FEMA

I need help with my energy bills (electric/gas)

Family Services Initiative

Need help paying your electric, water, or natural gas bill? You may qualify for help with Family Services Initiative.
Call 2-1-1 for more information.

Florida Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Overview: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that helps income-qualified families with home heating and cooling costs. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) administers LIHEAP and allocates funding directly to a network of community action agencies, also known as local agency providers, located throughout the state of Florida.

Who is Eligible: You may be eligible if you meet the following requirements:

  • Have a total household gross income of no more than 150% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines;
  • Be responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills;
  • Be a resident of Florida; and
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, qualified alien or permanent resident of the U.S.

Available Assistance: Depending on the funds available in your county, you may be able to apply for assistance up to three times a year, but not every month. LIHEAP may help pay your natural gas or propane bill only in the winter, if you use gas or propane as your primary source to heat your home. If gas or propane is used only for purposes other than heating, such as hot water or cooking, the program cannot pay the bill. The program cannot pay for water, sewer or telephone services. Your local LIHEAP provider makes the payments directly to your utility company on your behalf.

How to Apply: You may apply online through your local LIHEAP provider’s website. Check to see if there is an online application that you can complete so that you can submit your application without needing to visit the office location. A PDF application may be made available by the agency for you to begin the application. If an online application is not available, please contact the local office at (727) 327-0977 or Info@pcul.org for the preferred method of receiving either PDF or paper applications, along with supporting documentation.

Funding Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

I lost my job and need health insurance

Extended Health Insurance (COBRA)

Overview: COBRA lets workers and their families remain in the employee’s group health insurance plan for a limited time after a change in eligibility. COBRA stands for “Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.”

Who is Eligible: There are three basic requirements that must be met for you to elect COBRA continuation coverage:

  • Your group health plan must be covered by COBRA
  • A qualifying event must occur. This could be voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, or divorce.
  • You must be a qualified beneficiary for that event
  • If you are entitled to COBRA continuation coverage, you must be given at least 60 days to decide whether to elect it.

Available Assistance: Qualified individuals may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage up to 102% of the cost to the plan.

How to Apply: Learn how to apply for COBRA coverage or call 1-866-444-3272.

Funding Source: U.S. Department of Labor

I need food assistance

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.

You can also check out the Juvenile Welfare Board’s list of food pantries at www.jwbpinellas.org/childhood-hunger
or call 2-1-1.

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).

Florida Homeowner Assistance

Homeowners who experienced financial hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for help through the State of Florida’s Homeowner Assistance Fund.

This $676 million fund is managed by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

Learn more at this website.

Other Help

Other Basic Needs

Need help with transportation, diapers, pack-n-plays, and more? Family Services Initiative may be able to help.
Call 2-1-1

Mental Health & Emotional Support

The following crisis hotlines provide free, confidential support:

Counseling for First Responders

PEMHS’s Mobile Crisis Response Team (MCRT) is providing crisis intervention services for Pinellas County residents age 25 and under. 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.

Services include:

  • 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) 
Email: info@healthystartpinellas.org 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Healthystartofpinellascounty

Transportation

Transportation services for those who need it are available through Find a Ride Florida.

Resources for Pets

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
Wednesdays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
3040 State Road 590
Clearwater, FL 33759
Phone: (727) 797-7722
Details: To pick up food while the shelter is under construction, visit the third POD in the parking lot of their facility, and a representative will assist you.

SPCA of Tampa Bay
Tuesdays from 1-4:30 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 p
lastic grocery bags to transport the food home. When you arrive for your appointment, be sure to have a valid photo ID.


Workers & Businesses

I lost my job and need help

State 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.

Apply for Reemployment Assistance

En Español: Asistencia de Reempleo Información

Paper Applications

My small business needs help retaining employees

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.  

My business needs capital to rebuild

Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund

Overview: The purpose of the Rebuild Florida Business Loan fund is to encourage economic diversification, resiliency and stability, as well as job creation and retention. The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund provides access to affordable capital through financing loans for new business start-up or expansion. Allowable lending includes Working Capital Needs, Fixed Assets, or a combination of the two.

Who is Eligible: According to the Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund FAQ, applicants must:

  • Have a business located in the state of Florida:
    •  Be authorized to work in the state of Florida; and
    •  Operates primarily in the state of Florida.
  • Have a business owned and controlled by persons who are lawfully in the U.S. and have an appropriate work Visa.
    • Be legally able to contract debt

Available Assistance: The State has allocated $40 million to helping businesses with economic development and resiliency. The minimum loan size is $25,000. Two types of loans are available through this fund: (1) Express – $350,000 maximum and (2) Standard – $500,000 maximum. Express loans have 3-5 year terms while Standard loans have 5-10 year terms.

How to Apply: The application to the Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund can be found here. You can check your application status by logging into your account at this link. For further information, You may also call 1-833-989-2763 or email FloridaBusinessLoanFund@deo.myflorida.com.

Funding Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

I need help repaying my SBA loan

SBA is offering debt relief to existing SBA loan borrowers whose businesses have been impacted by COVID-19. Learn more about the SBA Debt Relief Program.

I need help paying back my Paycheck Protection Plan Loan

PPP Loan Forgiveness  

Overview: Borrowers may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness.

Who is Eligible: First Draw PPP loans made to eligible borrowers qualify for full loan forgiveness if during the 8- to 24-week covered period following loan disbursement:

  • Employee and compensation levels are maintained,
  • The loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses, and
  • At least 60% of the proceeds are spent on payroll costs.

Second Draw PPP loans made to eligible borrowers qualify for full loan forgiveness if during the 8- to 24-week covered period following loan disbursement:

  • Employee and compensation levels are maintained in the same manner as required for the First Draw PPP loan,
  • The loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses, and
  • At least 60% of the proceeds are spent on payroll costs.

Available Assistance: A borrower can apply for forgiveness once all loan proceeds for which the borrower is requesting forgiveness have been used. Borrowers can apply for forgiveness any time up to the maturity date of the loan. If borrowers do not apply for forgiveness within 10 months after the last day of the covered period, then PPP loan payments are no longer deferred, and borrowers will begin making loan payments to their PPP lender.

How to Apply:

  • Determine if your lender is participating in direct forgiveness through SBA and complete the correct form:
  • Compile your documentation:
    • Payroll (provide documentation for all payroll periods that overlapped with the Covered Period)
    • Nonpayroll (for expenses that were incurred or paid during the Covered Period and showing that obligations or services existed prior to February 15, 2020, for the first three listed obligations/services)
  • Submit the forgiveness form and documentation to SBA or your PPP lender:
    • Depending on whether your lender is participating in direct forgiveness, complete your loan forgiveness application and submit it via the SBA direct forgiveness portal or via your lender with the re­quired supporting documents. Your lender may follow up to request additional documentation.
  • Continue to monitor your application for forgiveness

Funding Source: Small Business Administration


Non-Profit Support

Economic Recovery Programs (Economic Development Administration)

Economic Adjustment Assistance

Overview: The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

Who is Eligible:

  • District Organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Tribe or a consortium of Tribes
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State

Available Assistance: A wide range of technical, planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and public works and infrastructure projects are eligible for funding under this program. EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities.

How to Apply: You can apply online. Please visit www.eda.gov/contact to find contact information for your Economic Development Representative.

Funding Source: U.S. Economic Development Administration

Statewide Planning, Research, & Networks Program

Overview: The program will allocate $31 million for Research and Networks Grants to invest in research that assesses the effectiveness of EDA’s programs, and provides support for stakeholder communities around key EDA initiatives.

Who is Eligible:

  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State
  • District Organization of an EDA-designated Economic Development District
  • Tribe or a consortium of Tribes
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education

Available Assistance: EDA anticipates awarding $200,000 to $600,000 each for projects that support research and evaluation into economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

How to Apply: You can apply online. Please email your questions about the American Rescue Plan Research program to research@eda.gov. Please email your questions about the American Rescue Plan Networks program to networks@eda.gov. For Statewide Planning inquiries, please visit www.eda.gov/contact to find contact information for your Economic Development Representative.

Funding Source: U.S. Economic Development Administration

Workforce Training/Economic Development Assistance

Florida Job Growth Grant-Public Infrastructure Proposal

Overview: Florida Job Growth Grant Fund was created to promote economic opportunity by improving public infrastructure.

Who is Eligible: Eligible entities that wish to access this grant fund must submit public infrastructure proposals that:

  • Promote economic recovery in specific regions of the state, economic diversification or economic enhancement in a targeted industry. (View Florida’s Targeted Industries here.)
  • Are not for the exclusive benefit of any single company, corporation or business entity.
  • Are for infrastructure that is owned by the public and is for public use or predominately benefits the Public.

Available Assistance: Funding for proposed public infrastructure projects.

How to Apply: You can apply online.

Funding Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida Job Growth Grant – Workforce Training Grant Program

Overview: The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund was created to promote economic opportunity by enhancing workforce training.

Who is Eligible: Eligible entities must submit proposals that:

  • Support programs and associated equipment at state colleges and state technical centers.
  • Provide participants with transferable and sustainable workforce skills applicable to more than a single employer.
  • Are offered to the public.
  • Are based on criteria established by the state colleges and state technical centers.
  • Prohibit the exclusion of applicants who are unemployed or underemployed.

Available Assistance: Funding for proposed workforce training programs.

How to Apply: You can apply online.

Funding Source: Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Need further assistance with local community resources?

Contact 211 Tampa Bay Cares by texting your zip code to 898211 or dialing 211 (available 24 hours a day).