‘They’re not following through’: Duval couple faces eviction, says state dropped ball on rental help

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville couple have been on edge for weeks because they’ve been told they will be evicted if they can’t make rent by the end of the month.

But the couple, Teresa and Carl Tebbe told us they shouldn’t be in this situation because they’ve been approved for rental relief through the federally funded program Our Florida.

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“This is what you get to sit and listen to for hours on end,” said Teresa as she held her phone playing hold music on Our Florida’s call line.

Teresa Tebbe and her husband Carl are far too familiar with the routine.

They told us they’ve called at least 30 times over the past six weeks, trying to find out why the money they were approved for hasn’t come through.

Documents on their Our Florida account show they’re owed five months in rent.

“And I thought everything was fine. Then our landlord’s coming up and saying we haven’t received anything,” said Teresa.

When they were first approved at the end of November, they were told payment would take two weeks to process.

“And they still haven’t paid November’s rent,” said Teresa.

But it’s not just the headache of long wait times on the phone — if the money doesn’t come through by the end of the month, their eviction is inevitable.

“So we’ll be out on the streets living in our car. And as I said, that’s unfair because you approved us,” said Teresa.

To make a bad situation worse, Carl is recovering from a heart attack suffered in October.

“We explain the gravity of the situation that this is not helpful on his situation, because if he has another heart attack he’s gone,” said Teresa.

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On Twitter, the Florida Department of Children and Families, which administers Our Florida, boasts it has paid out more than $700 million of the $870 million the state received in rental and utility relief as of Jan. 3, but each update is followed by user comments, complaining of situations similar to the one the Tebbes find themselves in.

“I mean, it’s not just one thing. There’s other people that need help too and they’re not following through on what they promised,” said Carl.

The Tebbes told us they hope their issue will be resolved before it’s too late, but they know this is bigger than themselves.

“People are actually being evicted on the streets because they’re not paying what they promised to pay,” said Teresa.

We reached out to both the statewide and regional DCF offices with the Tebbes’ application number and a list of questions, but we’ve yet to receive a response.

The Tebbes said the only explanation they’ve gotten is that there are ‘hiccups’ in the system.

“And that may be true, but the hiccups you know people like us shouldn’t have to pay for,” said Teresa.