Tampa launches resident and business coronavirus relief program to cover rent and utilities

jane castor
The Tampa Bay Lightning, Rays and Bucs all contributed.

The city of Tampa is immediately launching a relief fund for residents and businesses experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together for Families and Individuals program provides emergency grants to residents to cover basic needs including rent and essential utilities.

Eligible applicants will receive direct support for up to one month on rent or mortgage payments and water, gas or electric service.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announced the program Tuesday at Amalie Arena. The Tampa Bay Lightning, along with the Tampa Bay Rays and Rowdies and the Tampa Bay Bucs, each donated $100,000 to the fund. Amgen kicked in $50,000 and the Bromley Company, which is developing Midtown, donated $25,000. The city expects other contributions to continue.

“This is what community us all about,” Castor said, calling on residents and businesses who are able to consider donating to the fund.

Qualifying individuals and families are eligible for up to $1,000 in rent or mortgage assistance and $250 for utilities. Small businesses in certain industries are eligible for up to $4,000 in rental or mortgage assistance and up to $1,000 for utilities.

The city will provide direct payments to landlords, mortgage holders and utility companies for qualifying applicants.

The grants do not need to be repaid.

Individuals who qualify must be Tampa residents, have been employed as of Feb. 1, but lost a job or experienced a reduction in pay by at least 25% and, at the time of application, had an annual income that does not exceed 80% of the area median income.

For singles, that limit is $39,400, couples $45,000 and for a family of four the limit is $56,250.

If applicable, applicants must have also paid their 2018 property taxes in full and have no outstanding code enforcement issues.

Businesses must operate in one of the city’s designated low-income census tract zones or in low-income census tracts and community redevelopment area. They must also operate in one of the “critically impacted” business sectors, which includes independent restaurants, food trucks and street vendors, bars and nightclubs, small retail, personal services like tailors and dressmakers, hair and beauty providers, cleaning services, child and elder care providers, funeral services, events space and planning, caterers, 1099 contractors and sole proprietor consultants.

Annual revenue for qualifying businesses cannot exceed $250,000. Businesses must also have five or fewer employees at the time of application and have been continuously operating for at least five years prior to Feb. 1 2020.

Only businesses that have had a 50% reduction in revenue qualify and businesses must have also applied for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan, if applicable.

Businesses and individuals can apply online. Individuals can also apply by phone by calling 211 and pressing 7. A Care Coordinator will go over a phone questionnaire and help with the application process.

The city will begin taking applications Friday at noon.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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