INVESTIGATES: Orange Park man facing eviction while waiting for Our Florida rent payments

Florida’s emergency rental assistance relief program, Our Florida, announced it sent more than $51 million to families between March 10 and March 23.

Just how much of that money was actually deposited, and how much of it is really helping people?

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Action News Jax has been receiving emails and calls for help from several viewers, claiming their money was reportedly sent by the state but never arrived.

A month ago, a Jacksonville woman was waiting on several checks. This time, it’s the same story again; a man in Orange Park was supposed to be evicted Wednesday, March 30.

Eric Strickland’s apartment is currently empty. He has packed up all his belongings and moved his furniture to a friend’s house.

“I packed everything up to move out because I didn’t want to come home one day… and all my stuff is at the dumpster,” Strickland said.

March 30 was his eviction date.

“I should have gotten over $6,000 by now,” Strickland said.

He’s been waiting more than five months to receive viable rent payments from Our Florida.

He was approved in November, but that money didn’t come until January. By then it was too late.

“I did get the checks in January but once I got the checks in January, the apartment complex had already filed for eviction,” Strickland said.

Strickland tried to take the checks to the court, but they couldn’t be accepted because they were made out to the complex.

So he was back at square one, and now he’s behind even more.

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An email from Our Florida to Strickland on March 10 claims the agency was sending him more money. Strickland said he hasn’t seen it.

“It’s just terrible because they’re not helping no one out,” Strickland said.

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid President and CEO Jim Kowalski said they’re getting similar calls every week. He said there is a disconnect between the courts and Our Florida.

“If a payment is passing between the Our Florida site and the landlord, that’s not showing up on the docket,” Kowalski said.

Kowalski said if your landlord filed for eviction, you need to tell the courts immediately that you’re waiting on Our Florida money.

“If it’s a filed case, go to the website, or file something in court that lets the judge and the landlord know the money is coming,” Kowalski said.

On, you will fill out a questionnaire that creates an eviction response for you. Make sure you have your court papers ready to answer a set of questions.

Strickland said the organization has helped his case tremendously. He said he was granted an extension, so he will not be evicted for now.

Meanwhile, Action News Jax has been pressing DCF officials for answers. Through phone calls and emails, we are working to learn why so many payments are being delayed.

On March 30, we finally heard from an Our Florida spokesperson.

She said she could not directly answer why certain payments were delayed but she said sometimes checks are lost in the mail, a landlord won’t deposit them, or a tenant moves and doesn’t update their address.

She said with a state-run program aiding thousands, there are bound to be specific circumstances where issues arise. Nonetheless, she added Our Florida has successfully helped hundreds of thousands of people already.

The spokesperson said if you need help there are physical locations you can visit and the call center is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. The number is 833-493-0594. She added the lowest call volume is on the weekends.

For more information, visit: 032222 OUR Florida Weekly Press Release | Campaign Monitor (

Landlords can also sign up for direct deposits via so checks don’t come in the mail and potentially get lost.

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