Help for Individuals & Families affected by COVID-19

This program is not for businesses. For local business support, click here.

Application Deadline has been Extended!

All received applications will be processed for help.

Updated information is below in the FAQ section. 

What is the Pinellas CARES fund?

This fund helps Pinellas County individuals and families financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay overdue rent, mortgage, and utility bills up to $5,000 per household.

These funds are available to help you if:

  • You are a Pinellas County Individuals and/or Family 18 years-old or older or an emancipated youth.
  • You have a COVID-related qualifying event (furloughed without pay, laid off, or your company closed due to COVID-19).
  • You have less than $10,000 savings in the bank.
  • You are willing to sign an attestation confirming your situation to the items above.

The Pinellas CARES Fund was established by the Pinellas County Government with money from the federal CARES Act.

Important Note: Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, we are experiencing a high volume of requests. Your payment will take several weeks to arrive from the time you submit your documents.

How do I apply?

Text covidcares to 898211

You'll be asked a few screening questions to confirm you qualify. 

Sign Electronic Form

An electronic attestation about your COVID related financial need. We will email you the form once all your documents are received. 

Email Documents

U.S. & Pinellas County residency documents, overdue bills, and contact info to help@211tampabay.org.

Payments

Payment will be made directly to the utility, landlord, or mortgage company after the signed attestation form is submitted. 

Pinellas CARES Fund FAQ

What expenses can i get help with?  

This fund may provide the following assistance:

  • Rent payment
  • Mortgage payment
  • HOA fees
  • Electric payment
  • Water payment
  • Home gas payment
  • Internet (schooling, remote work, and job-seeking)
  • Deposits assistance for utilities to change in their name
  • Deposit rent in a new place, if they've been evicted
  • Hotel/Motel payments for those with a permanent hotel/motel stay of 30 days or longer

 

How do I submit the documents? 

All submission, review, and payments will be done virtually so you don't have to leave your house. Submit documents through email to help@211tampabay.org. In the email, attach the PDF of your online bills or take a photo with your phone and send it to the email above.

What documents will I need to submit?

All documents must have the same name and identifying information to get approved for assistance.

Submit copies of the following documents below:

Proof of US Citizenship (One from below)

    • Current Pinellas County Driver’s License with Real ID Star
    • US social security card
    • US birth certificate
    • Valid & current U.S. passport
    • Certificate of Naturalization
    • “Green cardINS forms I-151 or I-551
  • Proof of Pinellas County Residency (One from below)
    • Current Pinellas County Driver’s License or State Identification showing a Pinellas County address
    • Mortgage documents, rental lease, rent receipts or letter from a landlord or property owner
    • Proof of Homestead Exemption
    • Recent water, electric, gas, telephone, cable television or other utility bills in the name of the applicant indicating a current address within Pinellas County
    • Vehicle registration in the name of the applicant indicating an address within Pinellas County
    • Pinellas County Voter Identification card
    • Bank, credit union, or a similar statement indicating a home address in Pinellas County
    • Recent residence documented by another social service agency within Pinellas County. (Mobile Medical Unit or Pinellas County Shelter).
    • Canceled mail from a Federal, State, County, or City agency addressed to the applicant at a Pinellas County address
    • Declaration of Domicile recorded with the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court
    • Current professional license indicating a home address in Pinellas County
    • Record of criminal activity indicating a Pinellas County address when arrested
    • Employment record indicating a home address in Pinellas County
  • If applying for help with past due mortgage or utility bills (All from below)
    • PDF or clear photo of the utility late/overdue bills (water, sewer, electricity, and/or gas)
    • PDF of the mortgage statement
  • Past Due Rent Bills (All from below)
    • Eviction notice or late notice listing the amount past due and a copy of the lease.
    • If the applicant receives Section 8 Tenant-Based Assistance, a Housing Assistance Payment Contract (HAP Contract) is required in addition to the lease agreement.
    • The first page of the lease.
    • W9 from the landlord for payment
  • Sign an electronic attestation that your income loss is due to COVID-19 with assets under $10,000 (Provided after submitting the above documentation). 

What happens after i submit my documents? 

Once we receive all your required documents, we will submit your case for review. If we didn't receive all the documents you need, we will contact you. After all documents are reviewed - if your case is approved - we will email you the attestation form to sign.

How long will it take until my bills are paid? 

Assistance requests will be processed as quickly as possible. Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, we are experiencing a high volume of requests.

How will my bills get paid?

211 pays your landlord, mortgage company, or utilities directly. We will work with you to contact them and we will make payments over the phone or send checks to landlords or lenders.

I haven't heard anything. How do I get an update on my case?

After completing the text screening process, you will need to submit all the required documents listed above to start your case. A reviewer will only contact you if you are missing a document or to send you the attestation form once your documents are approved. If you have not heard from us, your case is still pending review. We are working as quickly as possible to review and process each case. Please do not send a new text or call to check on your case as this will slow down the review process and result in slower approvals.

I was told my case was approved by a reviewer, but they have not received payment yet. What do I do? 

Once you send in your attestation form, you'll get confirmation from us that your case was approved for payment. It may take up to a week for the payment to be processed and mailed to the utility, landlord, or mortgage company - keep in mind- even if the payment has been sent, the company or landlord may not have updated your account yet as they may be also processing a high volume of requests. We are monitoring transactions to ensure payment and will resubmit payment, where needed.

I've never been late with my bills. What do I tell my mortgage company, landlord, or Utility provider? 

Over the summer, the State of Florida and many utilities placed moratoriums on evictions and utility shutoffs, however, these protections are expiring.  Please contact your landlord, mortgage company, or utility and let them know you are seeking help through this program. They may be willing to work on a payment plan or defer payment for you. Learn about your rights as a tenant by clicking here.

If you are concerned about late payments affecting your credit, you can submit notes to credit agencies explaining credit issues for notation on your credit history. If you submit a note to a credit agency, be sure to mention that the impact was due to COVID-19 pandemic.

What if my case is denied?

There are two significant reasons why cases may get denied:

  • You do not meet the eligibility criteria.
  • The documentation submitted is not appropriate or clear and, after several attempts, we could not determine eligibility.

However, 211 has access to or knowledge about multiple funds in our community that may help. If you do not qualify for the Pinellas CARES Fund, we will attempt to work with one of our other funds to help you. If your case is not approved, we will let you know how to fix the situation in future requests.

What else can I do for my family?

There are other ways to cover some of your basic needs. Below is a list of other things to consider: