Goodwill Manasota is providing space at its Selby/Newtown Job Connection office so that residents can receive help in applying for Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funding. Sarasota County received $13 million in federal aid to help residents dealing with pandemic-related financial hardships. Renters at a certain level of earnings (80 percent of the area median income) who are facing homelessness or housing instability due to Covid-19 may receive this assistance. Those who earn 50 percent or less of the area median income will be given priority. This funding—which can provide up to 12 months of rental and utility assistance to eligible individuals, plus an additional three months if needed to ensure stable housing—is available in Sarasota through $25 billion in U.S. Department of the Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance funding.
The City of Sarasota has trained four ERAP Ambassadors to help residents complete the ERAP application, upload required documentation and collect data regarding the number of people served at Goodwill. Sarasota County is providing program administration, training and ongoing technical support as well as the equipment (computers, portable scanners and cell phones) necessary for the effort. The agreement also references the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Goodwill’s protocols regarding social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing, to keep community members safe. The ERAP services began on May 5 and will be available to residents through April 30, 2022. Walk-ins are welcome.