Family Stability Services

Our Family Stability Services program is designed to help you and/or your family, achieve stability. Monetary assistance from this program is meant to aid you and your family in breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Limited funds are available to assist with rent, mortgage, and utility payments in both Lake and Sumter counties.

***CARES/ERA FUNDING UPDATE***
For Lake County residents, as of September 1st, ERA (Emergency Rental Assistance) Utility & Rental funds are available.
Applications may be made on a WALK-IN  basis at  the UWLS main office, Mon-Thurs 9am-3pm.
APPOINTMENTS can be made at our Mt. Dora location on Thursdays ONLY.
If you are requesting an appointment at our Mt. Dora location, please call 352- 787- 7530 EXT. 236

 PLEASE NOTE:  

 United Way of Lake and Sumter is now disbursing SHIP funds for RENT and CARES/ERA funds for UTILITIES & RENT.

Applications are expected to take up to 45 days to process. Calls requesting updates before 45 days have passed tend to slow down our speed of processing. See below for documents to bring when you come into our office or make an appointment.

 Sumter County residents in need of utility or rental/mortgage assistance are encouraged to request assistance below. 

Request financial assistance information.

Lake Utilities Sumter Utilities Lake Rent Sumter Rent

If you are requesting Lake County utility assistance, please bring the following to United Way of Lake and Sumter:

  • ID for all adults in household
  • LEASE- (ALL pages including signature pages)
  • Birth certificate(s) for all minors
  • 2020 1040 Tax form
  • 12 recent months of utility bills including current bill
  • Proof of COVID-19 income loss (un-employment statement, pay stubs, letter from employer showing reduction)

If you are requesting Sumter County utility assistance, please bring the following to United Way of Lake and Sumter:

  • ID for all adults in household
  • Birth Certificates for all adults in household
  • Last two utility bills
  • Income from last 30 days (SS award letter, VA award letter, pay stubs showing deductions)
  • Proof of hardship (reason why financial assistance is needed)

If you are requesting Lake County rental assistance, please bring the following to United Way of Lake and Sumter:

  • ID for all adults in household
  • Birth certificate(s) for all minors
  • Proof of income from the last 6 weeks
  • Current Rental Lease (ALL pages including signatures)
  • W-9 form from landlord
  • 2020- 1040 Tax return
  • Ledger/ late notice showing details of past due balance and payments

If you are requesting Sumter County rental assistance, please bring the following to United Way of Lake and Sumter:

  • ID for all adults in household
  • Birth certificate(s) for all minors
  • Income from last 30 days (SS award letter, VA award letter, pay stubs showing deductions)
  • Current Rental Lease (ALL pages including signatures)
  • Ledger showing details of past due balance and payments (from landlord)
  • W-9 form from landlord
  • Proof of hardship (reason why financial assistance is needed)

I would like more information on how to apply for assistance:

Thank you for requesting assistance from United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties. We are at your service and promise, we are doing all we can to serve the needs of so many requesting utility and housing payment assistance at this time. We’re happy to work with you and look forward to being of service. If you are an existing applicant or have questions, please visit our
Family Stability Services FAQ section for answers to many of the most popular questions.

Thank you to our partners!

Thank you to our partnerships with generous organizations including Publix, SECO, Duke Energy, Wells Fargo, The Community Foundation of South Lake, SunTrust, and Lake County, we are equipped and committed to help families and individuals who are experiencing a financial burden from the impact of COVID-19. United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties also partners with additional agencies their resources to meet more community needs.

Publix Logo

Duke Energy LogoCommunity Foundation of South Lake Logo SECO Energy logoWells Fargo Logo

Lake County Logo

Thank you to our Utility Partners!

Thank you to those supporting agencies who partner withus to reach even more SECO “Angel Fund” recipients.

 

FSS- Sponsor

 

FSS- Sponsor 2

 

FSS- Sponsor 4

Sponsor 5

 

FSS- Partner logo

 

What happens once I request an appointment?

Once you request an appointment for the assistance, check your email.  Within 48 business hours, you will receive an email with the next step for assistance and the neccessary documents needed.

Do I have to make an appointment?

No, walk-ins are Mondays thru Thursdays between 9am and 3pm at our MAIN OFFICE. If you live closer to Mt. Dora or in Sumter County call (787 -7530 EXT 263) to schedule an appointment at one of our remote locations.

What if I come to my appointment without all the needed documents?

It is very important that you have ALL of the listed documents in order to have a successful appointment and we will wait until you have these documents in hand in order to help you.

Do I have to have my tax return from 2020? What if I didn’t make any income?

If you did not make any income, you are not required to file taxes. Please provide proof of NO INCOME.

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

Mortgage companies, landlords, and utility company payments can take up to 45 days to process; from the date of approval and the time for traveling in the mail. Upon approval of your application, a guarantee letter from United Way showing payment is forthcoming will be sent.

Are payments made payable to me or to the utility company?

All utility, mortgage and rent payments are made directly to the vendors.

What utilities are eligible for assistance?
Utility assistance funding generally may include water, gas, sewer, electricity, and trash. Cable, internet and telephone are not generally eligible utilities.
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, you can apply only for utility assistance. There is no obligation to apply for rental or mortgage 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. Current parameters are income must be at or below 80% of average median income.
Is it necessary to do a follow up phone call to ensure that the documents are received?

NO, although we know it’s REALLY tempting. We know you’re 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 on our list. Applications are expected to take 45 days to process including the time to be received in the mail by the recipient.

Do we cover utility or rental deposit assistance?

At this time, we DO NOT offer assistance for deposits for utility or rent.

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.