Miami-Dade County households can now apply for up to $2,000 in direct assistance through the local Pandemic Assistance Program.
Applications for the program, which opened Wednesday, are now available online in English, Creole and Spanish.
The county partnered with United Way of Miami-Dade, which will distribute $20 million in federal funds from the CARES Act through the program.
"The main two criteria are that applicants are Miami-Dade County residents and that they have been impacted by COVID in some way," Vanessa Benavides told the Herald. Benavides is associate vice president of United Way and is leading the program.
Households of two or fewer will receive $1,000 if their applications are approved. Households with three or more people will get $2,000.
To be eligible, applicants must prove they have lost income, have become unemployed or have experienced unexpected expenses as a result of COVID-19.
Applicants will be asked to provide supporting documents, including proof of residency in Miami-Dade and last year's tax returns to help determine eligibility.
Benavides stressed that applicants will be evaluated on a case by case basis, noting that gig economy workers may not have income documentation. Approved payments will be processed in about two weeks, she added.
The program is designed to help county residents who are on the ALICE threshold. ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, measures the number of people with a regular income who are not in poverty but that still live paycheck to paycheck.
In Miami-Dade, five out of 10 households are living in or near poverty, according to the United Way's ALICE report.
"People were in need before COVID hit and they were in more need once COVID hit. Now we're several months into this, so we have compound issues where people are struggling in ways we can't even imagine," Benavides said. "These funds are going to be a huge relief that will allow people to fill in some gaps and get them through some rough spots."