INDIAN RIVER COUNTY ― Indian River County has launched two new COVID-19 relief funds.

The Rental and Mortgage Payment Assistance program will assist households affected by the pandemic with rental and mortgage payments.

The IRC CARES program will distribute personal protective equipment supplies to small businesses located within Indian River County.

The Rental and Mortgage Payment Assistance program will provide up to $1,500 per month for up to three months to households that require assistance due to a reduction or loss of income caused by COVID-19.

The program will utilize funds received from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. So far, Indian River County has received $572,301 for this program. A second distribution may possibly be coming in October.

The county intends to allocate half of the funds for rental payment assistance and half for mortgage payment assistance, open to adjustments depending on demand.

Only Indian River County households with household incomes less than 80% of the Area Median Income computed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are eligible. According to HUD, the estimated 2020 median family income for Indian River County is $69,600.

“With many of our residents financially impacted by COVID-19, it is vital to provide rental and mortgage assistance to our hardest hit residents in order to provide housing security and stabilize and protect the economy of Indian River County,” said County Commission Chair Susan Adams.

Rent and mortgage payment assistance may include late payments and late fees. Mortgage payments may also include a portion of taxes and insurance under certain circumstances, such as when escrowed.

Applications will be accepted on a first come first serve basis until Dec. 1 or when all funds are expended or the county receives 500 applications, whichever occurs first.

The application submittal process will be conducted on-line through Zoom Grants. For those who don’t have internet access or need assistance, three help centers have been set up. Staff will be available to assist applicants with scanning and uploading documents to the Zoom Grants website.

The help centers are located in the Indian River County Intergenerational Center at 1590 9th St SW, Vero Beach, Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; the North County Library at 1001 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian, Mon–Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; and the Indian River County Health Department at 1900 27th St, Vero Beach, Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

A Spanish speaking staff person will be available at the Health Department.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the help center nearest to their location to schedule an appointment. The help centers may also be contacted for general questions and technical assistance at crfhousing@ircgov.com. The south county help center contact is Nalia Bauer, (772) 226-1782, nbauer@ircgov.com. The central county help center contact is Leigh Uribe, (772) 226-1467, luribe@ircgov.com. The north county help center contact is Kathleen Bowman, (772) 581-7688, luribe@ircgov.com.

Hard copies of the application may be picked up at the Community Development Dept. office, 1801 27th St., Vero Beach, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri.

The other new program launched by Indian River County is the IRC CARES program. Indian River County is distributing a package of personal protective equipment to small businesses located within the county.

Each CARES package will include two boxes of 50 disposable masks; one box of 100 latex gloves; two bottles of hand sanitizer; four cloth masks; two Indian River County masks; 60 sanitary wipes; and

one “Three C’s” poster that informs customers that a business is open while also encouraging customers to avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.

CARES packages are available at the iG Center, 1590 9th St. SW, Vero Beach, weekdays between 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m., while supplies last. Business representatives should call (772) 226-1732 to confirm eligibility and supplies, and to arrange a time to pick up the package.

For more information about these and other county programs, visit www.ircgov.com/coronavirus or call (772) 226-1732.

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