Family Stability Services

For Housing & Utility Assistance

***IMPORTANT UPDATE***

In 2020, we have seen unprecedented need and we are so honored to be of service to our Lake and Sumter Communities.

Please see below for important information on your rental, mortgage, or utility assistance requests.

As of November 1, 2020, we are unable to accept NEW CARES Funds applications at this time. Please visit this page for future updates.

If you are a LAKE County Resident:

For EXISTING Housing (rent or mortgage) ONLY applications, if you received submission confirmation, we have your application.
We anticipate delays into December for processing existing applications. You will be updated as updates become available.

For EXISTING Utility applications, all non-SECO applications are awaiting additional funding and will remain in pending status until such funds become available.

For SECO Utility assistance, for LAKE County Residents, please complete the below application.

HAVE YOU APPLIED FOR PHASE 2?

If you are a Lake County resident AND f you have received a denial or ineligible letter for your CARES application, or you are unable to wait for the necessary processing time, you may be eligible for Lake County’s PHASE 2 CARES Funding. Phase 2 is the next allotment of CARES Funding and is $4,000 per household. There is no income limit and no past due requirement. Also, please note this funding is managed by our partners in Lake County.

CLICK HERE to apply for Phase 2 Funding.

All questions and status updates should be directed to Lake County.

If you are a SUMTER County Resident:

Please visit (or click this link) Sumter County Housing Assistance to apply or inquire about CARES Funding.  

For Non-CARES Housing or Utility applications, for SUMTER County Residents, please complete the below application.

Get Assistance

What Happens Next?

If you have requested assistance with your rent, mortgage, or utility payments, or are considering submitting an application, you may find these frequently asked questions helpful.

What happens once I apply for assistance?

Provided your application is complete and all documents have been uploaded, you will receive an email immediately upon our receiving the information. Then within 72 business hours, you will receive an email with your approval status and next steps.

How long will it take for my mortgage company/landlord/utility company to receive payment?

Once approval of funds has been made, a commitment letter will be emailed or faxed to the mortgage lender, landlord, or utility company, guaranteeing the amount United Way of Lake and Sumter has promised to pay. Physical checks can take up to 45 days but are typically mailed within 2 weeks to 30 days.

If I have been aided by United Way of Lake and Sumter previously, will I be able to apply and get assistance again?

Every case will be evaluated individually to assess what funds can be allocated and in what instance.

Can I apply for utility assistance without applying for rental/mortgage assistance?

Yes. If you are only applying for utility assistance, please ONLY follow STEPS 2 and 3 at https://www.UWLSCOVIDRelief.org. You may also email Covid@uwls.org for utility payment ONLY assistance. 

Who is eligible for the CARES Act Funds, also known as the Stimulus Fund?

Each case is evaluated individually due to income requirements and fund parameters decided upon by the federal government to provide assistance using the CARES funds. The most common ineligibility factor is making too much income.

Who receives the check?

Funds will be directly written out to the mortgage lender, landlord, or utility company. Clients that are approved will not receive a check written out to them individually.

Is it necessary to do a follow up phone call to ensure that the documents are received?

It is not necessary to call United Way of Lake and Sumter about payments or status in process. We know everyone is awaiting funding and that time is of the essence. Calling to request a status update may slow us down on processing your application, which could be next in our list. IF, you did NOT receive an email upon submission, you may email CovidHelp@uwls.org to determine if your application was submitted. To check receipt of payments, please check with your landlord, lender, or utility company first and know that it can take from 2 weeks to 45 days for payment to be received.

What if I need assistance other than rent/mortgage/utility?

Please call 2-1-1 for assistance such as shelter, food, rapid housing, and clothing for immediate assistance in your area.

What can delay the process?

Applicants who have not uploaded appropriate and professional documentation, or whose documentation and uploads are out-of-date (such as leases or utility bills, expired ID’s, or illegible pictures) will experience SIGNIFICANT delays in processing.

Who is ALICE?

United Way commissioned the ALICE report in 2014. ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The ALICE population are industrious, hard-working, and the most valuable, but vulnerable people driving our local economy in Florida. Although they work hard, they live paycheck to paycheck, barely getting by because of the high cost of living. They make too much money to qualify for public assistance, but not enough to handle life’s emergencies. They are forced to make difficult decisions. For example, if they have a flat tire, they must choose between getting a new tire or losing their job or losing their housing or going several days without food or medication. The ALICE population is not just young families; they are also senior citizens who are outliving their savings.

Here are some interesting facts about ALICE. ALICE makes up 41% of the population in Lake County; in Sumter County, it is 42%. To live above the ALICE threshold, a single person in Lake County must make at least $20,736 a year; in Sumter County, it is $19, 536 a year. For a family of four in Lake County, they would have to make at least $53,712 a year; in Sumter County, $50,184.

United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties (UWLS) is taking the lead to help ALICE. UWLS’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers served over 600 families, saving them over $113,200 in tax preparation fees, and helping them receive over $523,946 in tax refunds. UWLS’s network of 14 food pantries distributed over 2.2 million pounds of food, feeding over 189,000 people. Our Family Wize free prescription discount card saved our residents over $640,000 in prescription costs. Our Pathways 2 Success program provides scholarships to ALICE to receive technical training at Lake Tech College and Sumter Adult Education to qualify for higher paying jobs. Our grants to the Early Learning Coalitions provide funding for childcare for ALICE families.

United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties is here to give ALICE a helping hand. Without your generous support, United Way would not be able to help our working families and seniors through their hard times.

How can you help? You can donate to the United Way or you can volunteer by calling 352-787-7530. We need volunteers for VITA, Mission United, Disaster Relief, and mentoring programs. Or you can be an advocate for United Way in your community, promoting by thanking a Publix associate for supporting United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties.

We know these times may not be easy. We truly are at your service and are doing the best and fastest we can, to get these funds in the hands of those in our communities. If you have any questions that are not answered on this page, please email CovidHelp@uwls.org and please know we’re working as quickly as possible.

DIRECT QUESTIONS TO COVIDHELP@UWLS.ORG OR 352-787-7530


For Other Assistance

211 Information & Referral Crisis Line is Available
For information or connection to community resources, you can always dial 211, text your zip code to 898211. Call Specialists are standing by 24/7 to navigate available community resources with you.

Online Database of Community Resources

Looking for a specific resource? Check out 211’s online database for the top links to requested information.