FILE - Florida state flag

The Florida state flag flies.

(The Center Square) – Florida is in line to receive $1.4 billion in federal COVID-19 emergency rental assistance, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.

The state has confirmed its participation in the U.S. Department of Treasury's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, DeSantis said. The federal funds were made possible by the COVID-19 stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump late last month.

The assistance is meant to help pay rent and utility bills.

Of the $1.4 billion expected to benefit Florida, $850 million of it will be disbursed by the state, DeSantis said. Cities and counties with a population of 200,000 or more will receive the rental assistance funds directly from the federal government.

To be eligible to receive assistance, individuals must:

• Qualify for unemployment or experienced a reduction in household income and incurred significant costs or financial hardship because of COVID-19;

• Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability;

• Have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income, with priority given to households below 50% of the area median income.

DeSantis said the state will provide more information once additional guidance is provided by the federal government.

Managing Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.