Jacksonville mom waiting on three months’ rent she was approved for through Our Florida


A Jacksonville mom is still waiting on money promised to her from a rental assistance program we all pay for.

The state’s emergency assistance program just received an additional $740.4 million to help folks in need, but that money is not getting to some depending on it.

Maryah Crews is behind three months’ rent through no fault of her own.

“I received notice (in) January that I had been approved and that payments were going out on January 3,” Crews said.

She received an email from Our Florida on Jan. 3 saying she was issued a $298 payment from the rental assistance program. The email states she should get a check in the mail in 10 business days.

Here we are on February 7.

“Nothing in the mailbox at all,” Crews said

It’s not only one month’s rent that is missing. The program is supposed to pay for two other months.

The online portal shows three payments made out to her but none of them ever arrived.

“My rent is about $300 a month so that’s about $900, almost like $1,000, for these past three months that I need to pay for rent,” Crews said.

As a single mom with two young boys, her hands are tied.

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She’s called the Our Florida number repeatedly with no luck.

“You can’t really get through. The first time I was able to get through I was on the phone for an hour and 30 minutes,” Crews said.

That one time she did, she said a rep admitted the checks hadn’t been sent out and would reach out to her case manager.

Even her apartment complex made calls on her behalf.

She hasn’t heard from anyone since.

So we called DCF. A rep there said they are looking into her case but had no exact explanation on what happened.

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Even with eviction looming over Crews’ head, she remains positive and grateful for the work Our Florida is doing for others in her situation. She just hopes she too gets that help.

We are also working to find out just how many other applicants in Florida are in the same boat as Crews, sitting and waiting for payments that may or may not be in the mail.

This isn’t the first time upset renters have contacted us for help with this program. Back in January, a Jacksonville couple said they were told they would be evicted at the end of the month if they didn’t pay despite also being approved for the assistance.

Documents on their Our Florida account showed Teresa and Carl Tebbe were owed five months in rent.

The couple told Action News Jax reporter Jake Stofan they had called at least 30 times over the past six weeks trying to find out why the money they were approved for hadn’t come through.

The Tebbes received their money shortly after our story aired.

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We reached out to Riviera Apartments on behalf of Maryah Crews and received the following statement:

“Let me begin by thanking you for your sincere concern for the well-being of our residents.

In response to your email below, it is not our practice to continue with eviction for a resident that provides proof that payment is forthcoming from one of our partners such as “Our Florida, Catholic Charities, and other social service agencies.

Generally, once we receive confirmation, and we are more than certain payments will be on their way, all eviction actions stop. We have an excellent working relationship with those organizations that commit to paying the rents of our residents. At the same time, we anticipate delays occasionally since the pandemic contributed to a lack of staffing everywhere. As we know, COVID-19 continues to affect everyone’s day-to-day operations; nevertheless, we receive payments as promised for the most part.

Again, thank you for your concern. We are thankful that these agencies exist to assist our families during this difficult time.”

To learn more about Our Florida visit https://www.ourflorida.com/.

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