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Money available for renters and homeowners in Collier County

Renters and homeowners in Collier County who need financial assistance can apply for part of $1.4 million to help them get back on their feet.

The county teamed up with the United Way of Collier and the Keys to receive the money and help those affected most by the pandemic.

Michelle Mejia works at Trattoria Abruzzo Italian Restaurant and said no one was prepared to be out of a job for this long.

“When you see it going on, it does become increasingly scary because not everyone has a lot of money saved necessarily so your resources become smaller and smaller,” she said.

“It is getting tight. Every single dollar you have to watch because you don’t know when your next paycheck is coming back.”

That’s why Collier County created the Rent and Mortgage Assistance Program.

“It’s something the community has desperately needed,” said Cormac Giblin, Collier County housing operations and grant development manager.

With the program, they’ll be able to assist 150 to 200 families for up to six months.

“These are 100 percent grants, which are qualified for funding. You will not need to repay the money at all. The money will be paid directly to your landlord or your bank,” Giblin said.

To qualify, applicants must meet the guidelines, which include making less than $100,000 a year.

“I think we can find a spot for everybody in this program,” Giblin said.

Knowing that help is out there is what means the most to struggling workers.

“I know so many people when they hear this, they are going to be so grateful,” Mejia said.

You can apply for the program online. The county said the online portal to do so should be up and running within the next few days. For information on how to apply, contact the United Way at unitedwayofcolliercounty.org or call (239) 263-4211.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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