By David Sutta

MIAMI (CBSMiami) –The City of Miami is coming to the aid of some people who are taking an economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic with a new $2 million program that will help those in need with rent and utilities.

The last time Cilicia Owens worked was over a month ago.

“March 23rd and I haven’t heard a thing from unemployment yet,” said Owens.

Like many in the hospitality industry, there really has not been a lot to celebrate lately.

On Thursday, Miami commissioners changed that, approving a rental assistance program that will pay rents and utilities for those who have fallen on hard times.

“This is the biggest thing we have going on in our community, other than feeding people. What we are doing, we know throughout this crisis an unprecedented amount of people are out of their jobs, an unprecedented amount of people can’t go to their jobs because of the government, we have to also step up,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Here is what Miami is planning:

  • Up to $1500 will be paid directly to your landlord or utility company.
  • The application process will begin Monday, May 4.
  • Residents will be able to apply at miamigov.com
  • The city will take up to 10,000 applications.
  • On may 9th they plan to hold a lottery.
  • Around 1300 applicants will be selected.
  • Payments are planned to go out mid-may.

The money from the program is coming from a community grant from the federal government and Miami has $2.2 million to spend.

  • The program comes with a set of rules:
  • You have to be a City of Miami resident.
  • You have to have lost your job due to coronavirus
  • There are income restrictions.
  • If you’re single, generally you have to make less than $38,000.
  • For a family of four the income limit rises to around $57,000.

The Owens sisters excited about the opportunity.

“That’s crazy. To get that extra help that’s good to hear,” said Owens.

Due to the limited funds and amount of people who could potentially benefit, it’s best to apply by Monday when the applications window opens.

Again, only the first 10,000 will be able to apply.

In order to qualify, individuals would have had to lose their jobs due to COVID-19.

A family of four would have to earn less than $57,000 a year.

Once the plan is passed, there will be details on how you can apply.

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