Investigates: Local families left waiting to receive mortgage relief, most applications still ‘in progress’

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On the first day the City of Jacksonville’s mortgage relief program opened, Michael Fernandez jumped at the opportunity.

”We got in immediately because they said there was limited funds.”

Action News Jax first reported about the program back in March.  

The city set aside $4 million of federal taxpayer money for local families struggling to pay their mortgage due to the pandemic.  

Families can get up to $7,500 over six months.  

Fernandez says, after applying, his claim had just remained “in progress.”

”I waited about a month, didn’t hear anything, no emails, no phone calls, no correspondence whatsoever.”

He says he reached out to the city to see why it was taking so long.

“I pretty much got a blast email back that said in progress if we need anything else we will contact you.”

The city tells Action News Jax 925 people applied for the assistance.

Nearly two months since the program began, the city says 365 applications have been approved.  

That’s less than 40%.

While in limbo, Fernandez reached out to us for help.  

After months of waiting, Action News Jax reporter Dani Bozzini was able to help him get his claim processed and approved.

“Now, my family, we’re going to be here. We’re not going anywhere,” said Fernandez.

The city tells me this is not a fast or easy process. Incomplete or missing paperwork is also slowing it down.  

Fernandez hopes others are encouraged to ask questions if they have any because you never know what might happen.

”You helped us out, and I hope this will help other families get the answers that they are looking for.”