Curry: Application Process for $1K Assistance Program Opens Friday

Apr 30, 2020

Qualified Duval County residents may have a $1,000 payment card as soon as Monday, May 4.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday that the application process to set an appointment will be opened on Friday, May 1, at 10 a.m. 

The $1,000 is intended to help 40,000 households pay rent, mortgage or utility bills, or help with other necessary purchases. 

There are criteria for that households must meet to get the assistance: 

They must live in Duval County.

At the time of application, the annual household income must not exceed $75,000. A household is defined as the family occupying a specific residence. If such residence has only one individual occupying it, then that individual makes up the household.  If there is more than one adult living in a household together, only one adult may qualify for funding for the household.

Applicants must have documentation reflecting employment as of February 29, 2020. Acceptable documentation includes paystubs, bank statements reflecting direct or indirect deposits or a letter from an employer that includes salary or typical wages earned in a 2-week period.

Since February 29, 2020, the applicant must have experienced a reduction in hours of work or a pay reduction of 25% or more as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

The website to apply for the relief is JaxRelief.COJ.net. People without internet access can call (904) 630-CITY beginning at 10 a.m. Friday.  At the time of this story’s publication, WJCT News could not verify the website as being up and running yet.

After applying for the assistance, the person will get an appointment and a confirmation number. The appointments will be held at the Main Library and the Ed Ball Building starting May 4.

“This will be a first come first serve, so we do expect appointments to fill up quickly,” Curry said.

Residents must bring their driver’s license or State ID card and address verification, along with the documentation outlined above. People must also know their social security number or bring their card with them, along with their own blue pen. 

Stephanie Burch, a Deputy Chief Administrative Officer with Jacksonville, said there has been a team testing the website to make sure the site is user-friendly and runs smoothly. 

“We've got 30 IT people dedicated solely to this project,” Burch said. “That does not include our outside consultant who's also assisting with the load-testing for the site.”

When someone is requesting an appointment online, Burch said they’ll only need to fill in their basic contact information, and check a few boxes to confirm they meet the eligibility requirements and that their information is subject to public disclosure. 

To maintain social distancing guidelines, the city is asking people to bring their own masks. If not, they will be provided one at the door. They are only allowing one person to come to the appointment per household. 

If someone has an out-of-state driver’s license and can’t get it changed because city offices are closed, Burch said they can still request an appointment as long as they have a bill with their current Duval County address.

Curry commended Governor Ron DeSantis’ Phase One plan of reopening the state, calling it “safe, smart and ready to guide us step-by-step back to the life we knew before the virus.” 

He said he is communicating with DeSantis to potentially find ways Jacksonville can “tailor” some of the decisions at the state level to better suit the county. 

“We'll certainly be exploring those options,” Curry said. 

The mayor’s executive order on hotel and lodging establishments will be lifted Monday, meaning they can allow reservations once again. 

As in the rest of the state except for South Florida, retail stores and restaurants can begin letting people in at 25% capacity. Restaurants can also allow outdoor seating, as long as there is six feet of space between tables. 

Curry said he hopes restaurants can abide by the guidelines so there won’t have to be enforcement.

“We are not a police state,” Curry said. “We're not looking to catch people that are trying to run businesses doing something wrong. We're in an unprecedented time and crisis, trying to reopen our economy thoughtfully. So look, if people go into a restaurant and they feel unsafe, and it doesn't appear that's being adhered to, they're probably going to pick up the phone and call somebody. But I believe the people Jacksonville, the people that own and run restaurants want people to be safe.”

Curry announced the current rate of positive COVID-19 cases is at 4.3% and continuing to decrease. He also announced a new appointment-only drive-up testing site located at the Walmart at 13490 Beach Blvd. The site is a partnership between the store and Quest Diagnostics. It will open on Friday, May 1. 

As for city-run facilities - like libraries and City Hall - they will not be open to the public on Monday, according to Curry. City Hall meetings will be held in Zoom conferences in May, according to a press release from City Council. Opening dates for those facilities have yet to be determined.

Sky Lebron can be reached at slebron@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter at @SkylerLebron.