Rental assistance program to launch Wednesday to help renters avoid COVID-19 related evictions

Financial help will be available starting Wednesday for Pinellas County residents who are falling behind on rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  
The Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide financial assistance for individuals and families who have lost their jobs or have had a significant reduction in income due to the pandemic. Funds will cover missed rent payments as well as up to 12 months of future rent costs. 
With $21.4 million in funding for the program from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Pinellas County hopes to stabilize housing and provide greater peace of mind to its most vulnerable renters and their landlords. 
“Many residents have lost jobs or income since the pandemic began and are struggling to keep up with rent,” said Pinellas County Commission Chair Dave Eggers. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to help keep families and those in need in their homes during this challenging time.”  
Eligible Pinellas County residents can apply starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. on the County’s COVID-19 website at: Tenants who are overdue on rent should not wait for an eviction notice to seek help and may already be eligible for financial assistance based on the criteria below.  

Who is eligible? 

Emergency Rental Assistance Program applicants must be renter households in which one or more individuals meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment, experienced a significant reduction in income and/or experienced significant financial hardship due to COVID-19,
  • Is behind on rent payments or at risk of missing a rent payment, and  
  • Has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI), with priority given to households below 50% of the AMI (AMI limits available at For a single-person household, 80% of the AMI is $39,400. For a household of four, 80% of the AMI is $56,250.

Residents can find more details about eligibility at

Funds received by eligible applicants must be used to cover past rent payments back to March 13, 2020, first, before they receive additional rental assistance to cover future payments. Rent payments will be made directly to the landlords or property managers of successful applicants.