Miami Residents Have $13 Million in Stimulus Funds Coming Their Way

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  • The cost of rent has soared in Miami.
  • A new rent relief program will allow tenants to apply for aid to cover rent increases.

Talk about some good news for renters.

To say that housing costs are rising on a national level would be a bit of an understatement. Not only are home values way up across the board, but rental costs are soaring as well, leaving many tenants struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

Compounding the problem is that many renters have yet to recover from the financial blow of the pandemic. During the first part of 2020, many people lost their jobs when non-essential businesses got the directive to shutter. That forced those who were out of work to deplete their savings and fall behind on bills.

Thankfully, a federal ban on evictions was put into place to prevent renters from losing their homes. But that ban expired last year. And while the job market has been stronger for months, inflation has also been rampant, putting those impacted by the pandemic in a position of having to dig out of the holes they landed in.

Read more:Inflation Killing Your Paycheck? Here Are the 5 Best Ways to Ask For a Raise

Meanwhile, the last two stimulus bills that were signed into law allocated roughly $46 billion for rent relief funds. That money was then distributed at the state level.

Some states have, at this point, exhausted their rent relief dollars. But funds are still being made available to areas in need.

Miami-Dade County is one of them. In South Florida, the cost of housing has skyrocketed, and many people just can't keep up. Now, the county is getting an additional $13 million for emergency rental assistance. And that could help keep a large number of renters in their homes while they figure out their next move.

Buying over renting isn't an option

Miami isn't the only area where the cost of rent has become unaffordable. And unfortunately, people looking to escape hefty rent costs while staying in the area have few options.

Buying a home is off the table for many struggling renters, due to inflated property values. And now that mortgage rates have climbed, homeownership has gotten even less affordable.

Besides, many renters are still trying to replenish their savings in the wake of the pandemic -- which means saving for a down payment to buy a home isn't an option. That's just part of the reason why Miami-Dade's $13 million in rental assistance funding couldn't be coming at a better time.

Applying for relief

Those who are struggling to pay their rent are urged to apply for assistance. In fact, Miami-Dade County will now accept applications for rent relief from residents who can't pay their rent due to a recent increase.

To qualify for aid, applicants must earn a wage that's below 80% of the area median income. For a single applicant, that means making $50,650 or less. For a two-person household, that means earnings that don't exceed $57,850. And for a family of four, that means having earnings of up to $72,300.

Applicants must also be able to prove that they're struggling with rent costs due to a financial hardship resulting from the pandemic. But for many people, that unfortunately won't be a problem.

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