Florida to Spend $240 Million on Rent and Mortgage Help

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis AP Photo


Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Police officers fired in Wilmington after racist conversation caught on recording … Minnesota city could remove word “chief” from position titles … More than 20,000 workers in New York City could face furloughs or layoffs.

Florida plans to spend $240 million of its federal coronavirus relief money on programs to help people pay their rent and mortgages. Half of the money will be directed to families living in affordable housing, while the other half will be distributed by counties. “This initiative strives to provide financial assistance through multiple affordable housing programs to ensure these Floridians receive the support they need during this difficult time,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement on Thursday. The state’s temporary ban on evictions, put in place earlier in the pandemic, ends on July 1. The governor’s office did not provide a timeline for when the money would be available. Housing groups have been lobbying DeSantis to extend the eviction moratorium, noting that 2,600 eviction cases are waiting to be processed through the courts. Some counties have already set up their own housing assistance programs with federal relief dollars, with Orange County’s $36.5 million program repeatedly getting overwhelmed by applications. [Tampa Bay Times; Click Orlando; Orlando Sentinel

OFFICERS FIRED | Three police officers in Wilmington, North Carolina were fired on Wednesday after an investigation that started when a supervisor heard a recorded conversation filled with racial slurs in which they discussed slaughtering Black people. “Today is a challenging day for me because as your police chief, one of my first major tasks is to announce the termination of three veteran police officers,” said new Police Chief Donny Williams. [Port City Daily; New York Times]

NATIONAL GUARD | Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers activated the National Guard after a night of protests in Madison where two statues were toppled and a state senator said that he was kicked in the head while filming demonstrators outside the State Capitol. “The protests in Madison last night resulted in serious injury to bystanders as well as significant damage to state property. The Wisconsin National Guard will serve in a limited authorization meant to make sure people can exercise their First Amendment rights while ensuring the safety of members of the public and state buildings and infrastructure,” Evers said on Wednesday. [The Hill]

CHIEF | The city council of Duluth, Minnesota is considering an amendment to the city’s charter that would remove the word “chief” from position titles like ““chief administrative officer.” Mayor Emily Larson said that the use of the word “chief” is offensive to Indigenous people and can be replaced by other words like “director.” [Star Tribune]

CITY LAYOFFS | New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city may have to resort to extensive layoffs to fill budget gaps caused by the economic downturn. About 22,000 municipal workers may face furloughs or layoffs in the fall. "We are running out of options here. That is the blunt truth,” he said. [New York Times]

Laura Maggi is the managing editor at Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.

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