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Coronavirus Aid for Residential Expenses (CARE) Program

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The CARE Program launches May 4, 2020, and provides assistance with rent and utilities to those who have a verifiable loss of income related to the impacts of COVID-19. 


Should you have questions, a dedicated information hotline, 863.834.CARE (2273), is available.  


The following criteria must be met in order to be eligible for the CARE program:

  • Eligible recipients must be a City of Lakeland resident
    Please verify by clicking the button below.
  • Eligible recipients must be delinquent on rent and/or public utilities
  • Show verifiable loss of income related to COVID-19 impacts
  • Household income ≤80% AMI ($54,000 for a family of four)
  • Maximum award of six months or $5,000, whichever occurs first

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Frequently Asked Questions 

  • What is the Coronavirus Aid for Residential Expenses (CARE) Program?

    The CARE Program was created to assist low-income households that have experienced a verifiable loss of income due to the impacts of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), by providing rent, mortgage and/or public utilities payments to prevent eviction, foreclosure and homelessness as a result of the pandemic crisis.

  • Who is eligible to receive assistance?

    The Program is open to City of Lakeland tenant residents only, whose household income does not exceed 80% of the Area Median Income, adjusted for family size (see current income chart below), and who have experienced a verifiable loss of income due to the impacts of COVID-19, i.e. layoff, furlough, reduction of hours, etc. At the time of application, the applicant must be delinquent on monthly rent or public utilities payments, or both.

    Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    80% AMI $37,500 $43,200 $48,600 $54,000 $58,350 $62,650 $67,000 $71,300


  • I live outside Lakeland's city limits. Can I receive CARE Program assistance?

    Unfortunately, no. The City of Lakeland can only provide CARE assistance to incorporated Lakeland residents. 

  • I own my home but lost my job and need help. Can I receive CARE Program assistance?

    Yes. Please refer to the Mortgage Relief Page for more information. 

  • If I am eligible, how much assistance can I receive?

    The maximum per-household award for the CARE Program is six (6) months of rent and/or public utilities or $5,000, whichever occurs first.

  • What utilities are eligible for assistance?

    Utilities services eligible for assistance are electricity, water, wastewater (sewer), solid waste, and natural gas.  Telephone service, including landline and cell phone, and internet service are not eligible.

  • How do I apply?

    Application can be made online by clicking the “Apply” button located at http://www.lakelandgov.net/CARE

  • I don't have access to apply online. Can I submit a paper application?

    Unfortunately, no. The demand for this assistance and social distancing measures still in place require that application be made exclusively online.  The online application can be completed on a smartphone or mobile device, though, in addition to a PC or laptop.

  • What documentation is required with my application?

    There are a number of items needed to verify your eligibility for the CARE Program, including:

    •  Valid state-issued driver license or identification card or passport for each member of the household aged 18 or older.
    • Six (6) most-recent bank statements for all accounts held by all members of the household.
    • Documentation of loss of income for any household members who experienced such a loss, e.g. letter from employer.
    • Two (2) most recent paycheck stubs for all members of the household aged 18 or older.

    Additional documentation may be needed as applicable:

    • Proof of unemployment compensation of application for unemployment compensation.
    • Current lease.
    • Proof of Social Security benefits or Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.
    • Documentation of all other sources of income for all members of the household.
  • I don’t have all the documentation required for my application. Can I submit it later?

    It depends on the nature of the documentation. Certain items like identification cards and driver licenses, check stubs, bank statements and proof of loss of income from your employer(s) are required for application completion and submission. It is vitally important you gather all required documentation before starting your application. A complete list is included in the online application.

  • I’ve submitted my application. What now?

    Thank you! You should receive application confirmation at the email address you listed on the application which will include your Application Number. That number is very important for future correspondence so please hold onto it and reference it in any emails or phone calls. The City’s Community & Economic Development Team is processing applications in the order they were received. That processing includes income verification and certification from your landlord, and will require your cooperation as the staff works to get you approved for assistance. You will be contacted via phone and/or email through the process, both with updates and to provide additional information as necessary.

  • How is the program funded?

    The CARE Program is funded through a number of State and Federal housing and community development grants, some received specifically to combat the impacts of COVID-19 and others reallocated from other local programs.  At launch the CARE Program had total funding of $930,310.

  • Who can I contact with additional questions?

    The CARE Program hotline has been created and staffed to assist you, and can be reached by calling 863.834.CARE (2273) or by email to CARE@lakelandgov.net.