ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — This weekend and next, two churches will partner with Orange County to host application help sessions for people interested in applying for help from the county’s eviction diversion program.

What You Need To Know

  • New Church of Faith, The Kingdom Church to provide help sessions on eviction diversion

  • Sessions scheduled for this weekend, next weekend

  • Orange County recently expanded eligibility requirements

  • As of Thursday morning, Orange had $7 million left in fund

Sessions will be held this weekend at New Church of Faith at 5000 Silver Star Road, and at The Kingdom Church next Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12. Friday sessions will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday sessions from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both weekends.

It’s the last chance for people to apply to the county’s eviction diversion program, which is funded by federal and state CARES Act dollars. There was still a nearly $7 million balance in the fund as of Thursday morning, per the county. All funds must be distributed by December 31, per CARES Act guidelines. Recently, the county expanded eligibility requirements for the program in an attempt to encourage more applicants

Pastor Meka Beacham of New Church of Faith encouraged people who are interested in this weekend’s help sessions to begin the application process online before coming by the church. However, she also said people are still welcome to drop in, even if they haven’t started the online application.

“The goal is to save as many residents [as possible] from being evicted. That is our goal,” Beacham said. “To reach as many people in our community with this awesome opportunity. [COVID-19] took a lot of things from people this year, and it is our goal as a ministry to help meet some of the needs that it left in its wake.”

Orange County’s eviction diversion requires participation from both tenant and landlord. As of Thursday morning, the county had matched 2,208 landlord-tenant pairs through the program, according to county spokesperson Despina McLaughlin.

Molly Duerig is a Report for America corps member who is covering Affordable Housing for Spectrum News 13. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.