TAMPA, Fla. — UPDATE (March 10, 2022): Tampa is already pausing applications for its new rental assistance pilot program after getting nearly 1,000 applications in 10 days. Updated story can be found here.
Previous story below.
The city of Tampa is now taking applications for its new rental assistance program.
On Wednesday, city leaders provided details on the Rental and Move-in Assistance Program (RMAP), which is described as an "innovative pilot program designed to help Tampa residents struggling with rental increases and paying for security deposits."
The city says the program, which officially launched March 1, gives people monthly financial literacy resources and move-in assistance. So far, 560 people have applied.
Currently, $1 million from the city's general fund has been put toward RMAP.
“I said from the get go, $1 million would not be enough. I knew it wouldn’t be enough! I knew the flow of applications that would come in would be astronomical," explained the chairman of city council, Orlando Gudes.
On Wednesday, city council members will discuss adding $4 million to the funding. With the $1 million secured, that would bring the total assistance to five million dollars.
Assistance available to people include:
- financial literacy resources
- security deposits
- first and last month's rent
- an ongoing monthly rental subsidy.
City leaders say RMAP can help more people because it doesn't come with the rent limitations imposed on state and federal programs, such as Tampa's DREAM program.
This means a single person can make up to $72,380 a year and still apply for the program and possibly qualify.
"We have to ensure that individuals can live within the city of Tampa," stated Mayor Jane Castor.
Learn more about the program and how to apply here. The city says approval is dependent on getting required documentation from both landlords and tenants.
The Tampa Bay area has seen the highest rent spike in the country, which is between 24 percent and 28 percent in the past year, according to CoStar Group. CoStar Group also reports the average renter in the Tampa Bay area saw their rent increase by more than $300.
“This is just one of many steps to address affordable housing needs in our community, and we can’t and won’t let up on tackling this challenge,” Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement.
“The need has never been greater, so we are using general funds for the first time to give us more flexibility. Housing is a central part of Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow, but there is no single solution to the housing crunch. We need to employ multiple approaches.”