Manatee County residents who have lost their jobs or significant income because of the coronavirus can apply for help to pay rent, mortgage and utilities bills.
But the window to apply is short and money is limited.
The application window opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday and closes at 5 p.m. Friday.
Eligible Manatee County residents may receive up to $1,500 a month for up to three months through the Manatee CARES Assistance Program.
Thousands of local residents are expected to apply, but there is just enough funding for about 250 households. For that reason, a lottery-style drawing will take place to distribute the money.
“There’s a very finite amount of dollars that we have received to assist a very large number of recently unemployed residents in Manatee County,” said Geri Lopez, director of the Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity department overseeing the program. “We know there will be a very high demand for this one-time assistance, but we’re going to assist as best we can. We’re just asking for patience through the process. We’re hopeful that additional funding will arrive from state or federal partners to allow us to offer another round of help in the future.”
Manatee County recently received approximately $1.3 million from the federal Housing and Urban Development Department and State Housing Initiative Partnership (SHIP) program to assist those with financial hardships.
Because the City of Bradenton receives SHIP funds and federal funds, Bradenton residents are ineligible for Manatee CARES funding.
Florida counties with populations under 500,000 did not receive the bulk of the Federal CARES Act funding. Last month, County Commissioners sent a request to Washington leaders for the funding to be extended to mid-sized counties like Manatee which has a population of about 411,000.