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Tampa rental assistance program now accepting applications after 6-month pause

The Rental & Move-In Assistance Program (RMAP) was paused in March after receiving more than 960 applications.

TAMPA, Fla. — The city of Tampa has reopened its Rental & Move-In Assistance Program (RMAP) program after it was paused in March due to a staggering response.

"We are looking at those individuals that are working hard every day and still not able to make ends meet," said Mayor Jane Castor during a news conference Wednesday. 

According to the city's website, up to 250 applications will be accepted on Wednesdays and Thursdays only.

The program planned to give people move-in assistance and monthly financial literacy resources. It could help cover security deposits, first and last month's rent and subsidize monthly rent payments.

It was touted as an innovative way to help people in Tampa who were struggling to make payments. A single person making as much as $80,000 a year could potentially qualify due to the scope of the current rent crisis. The RMAP program was intended to cover gaps in support left by state and federal programs that come with certain rent limitations.

According to the mayor, approved applications can receive up to a year of assistance, and the average award is about $10,000. She also noted that landlords are not required to accept this program. 

Interested applicants can apply here.

Some advocates say the city's program is simply another Band-Aid and fails to offer a long-term solution.

"The rent has gone up, the damage is done, the rent is not going to go down," said Robin Lockett, a regional director with the group Florida Rising.

Lockett and other advocates have been calling for rent caps and more regulations on landlords since the beginning of the year. They wanted to see rent stabilization put on the November ballot, but the city council rejected the request.

In March when the city launched the first iteration of the program, more than 960 applications were received for the program, a city spokesperson said. $1 million from the city’s general fund was originally allocated for the program.

Castor said the city was able to provide assistance to 200 families previously. 

RELATED: Tampa is already pausing applications for its brand new rent assistance program

Now, the city council has approved an additional $4 million in funding for the program and another $1 million for 2023. There has also been a call for an increase a housing funding in Tampa's 2023 budget.

RELATED: Activists call for increased housing funding in Tampa's 2023 budget

The Tampa Bay Community Action Committee is asking the city to contribute more money to the city's new rental assistance program. Currently, $5.5 million of the $1.9 billion budget is going toward the program.

Watch the full update provided by Castor and city council members below: 

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