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Members of the Tampa Tenants Union call on city officials for rent control

People of the Tampa Tenants Union said city officials need to pass rent control to allow people to afford to live in the city.

TAMPA, Fla — Housing officials with the City of Tampa opened a new program weeks ago to help more people afford to rent in Tampa.

Officials recognize that landlords are spiking rent in lease renewals and the cost to live has increased.

The city created the Rental Move-In Assistance Program, which allows anyone who makes 140 of the area median income to apply. For a person living alone, they need to make $72,380 or less to apply.

City officials said they received more than 1,000 applicants in the first few days and they are still processing applications. 

At this time, the city's website said they are not accepting any more applications. The program appears to be on pause as city officials go through those who have applied.

10 Tampa Bay asked a city spokesperson if they will accept more applications in the near future, the spokesperson said, "our team is working to process applications and will post any updates as soon as they can."

In 2021, citizens living in Tampa formed the Tampa Tenants Union. This was their way to form as a group and fight against rising rent. One of the organizers said the city needs to address rent control.

"You can probably find someone just walking on the street who has experienced a rent increase," Bratton Young, a member of the Tampa Tenants Union said. "We demand that city council or city officials do something about this crisis."

In March, Mayor Jane Castor explained at a press conference that rent control would deter developers from doing work in the city.

"If we put caps on rent, rent stabilization, it’s going to kill development in our area," Castor said at a March 9th press conference. "Developers are going to go to other areas."

Mayor Castor said this is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. 

A part of that approach is more affordable housing for people. Mayor Castor has a goal of creating 10,000 affordable units in the city of Tampa by 2027.

A spokesperson with the city said right now they are considering adding more funding to the new rental assistance program to allow more people to apply. Right now, the city has $5 million to help over 1,000 people who already applied.

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