Jacksonville organization helping Duval families with mortgage and rent relief

JACKSONVILLE — The COVID-19 pandemic has cost many people their home.

The City of Jacksonville told Action News Jax that thousands of Duval country residents have applied for emergency assistance through the city’s mortgage, rent, and utility relief programs.

Meanwhile, Jewish Family and Community Services says right now, over 6,000 households are struggling in Duval County. The organization is expecting even more people to be calling for help.

Single mom Kristi Ambrose knows all too well the struggles of making ends meet during the pandemic.

“It’s just one thing after another, I can’t look for a job, I can’t do anything, because I have her all the time,” Ambrose said.

More than $4 million in federal funding is going to Duval County families struggling with mortgage payments due to the pandemic. The program will pay up to six months of late payments. The mortgage relief program is similar to the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program with $29 million federal dollars helping people catch up on rent.

“These dollars are here to help you, no one planned for a pandemic,” Colleen Rodriguez, CEO of Jewish Family and Community Services said, adding that the organization is helping over 2,200 families in Duval County like the Ambroses.

To Ambrose, the help is invaluable. “Especially if you have children, it’s really hard, you want the best for your kids,” she said.

She encourages other families to take full advantage of the programs.

The city and JEA will be using another $5 million to help families with their utility payments. Tenants and homeowners can apply for help through the city’s website, or by texting “apply” to 211904.

This Friday is the deadline for applying for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.