Polk County giving away $2.5 million to help residents impacted by COVID-19 pay mortgage, rent

It may be the best Christmas present you have ever gotten. Polk County is going to give away $2.5 million from the CARES Act to help people affected by COVID-19 catch up on their back rent or mortgage.
“The total amount they can get is $5,000,” Tamara West of Polk County Housing and Neighborhood Development told FOX 13. “On average, we’re thinking about $3,500.”
To qualify, you have to be a Polk County resident, have lost income, lost your job or gotten sick because of the virus. People who have gotten certain CARES Act housing money from Polk County over the summer cannot re-apply. Neither can people who live in Lakeland or other places that have similar programs.

The money, according to West, might be coming just in the nick of time for many people.
“The moratorium on evictions is going to end on the 31st,” said West. “We know there is still a need out there, so we want to put the money out on the streets for our citizens to get.”

COVID UPDATES: Download the free FOX 13 News app for ongoing coronavirus coverage and live updates
Applications are going to be taken online here starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, December 29. Applications will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, December 31.

A call center will open on Dec. 29. If you have questions you can call (863) 519-1000 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Funds are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com

Map of known COVID-19 cases:

MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map