Tampa pauses applications for new rental assistance program after overwhelming response
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor reaches labor agreements with police, fire and transit workers.

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As the city was discussed capping applications at 500, nearly 1,000 had already been sent in.

The city of Tampa is pausing the application process for its new Rental and Move-in Assistance Program, also known as RMAP.

The pause comes one week after the program launched and one day after Mayor Jane Castor officially introduced the program in a news conference. Castor’s office said it had discussed capping applications at 500. But before that discussion could wrap, applications had already exceeded that number. The program was paused after receiving 960 applications.

“We will not let up on this challenge and will continue to employ multiple approaches to address the current housing crisis,” Castor said Thursday. “There is no single solution. As part of Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow, we will pursue innovative and sustainable solutions to provide affordable housing options and keep residents in their homes.”

RMAP is available to anyone making up to 140% of the area median income (AMI), or about $72,380 for a single-person household. They also must be a Tampa resident or moving to Tampa and have a lease as proof. Those interested can apply online.

The program offers assistance in the form of financial literacy, security deposits and first and last month’s rent, rental subsidies and more. Tampa’s program expands on federal programs limited to individuals who make 80% of AMI or less. Castor said that will allow more people to be included who otherwise might fall through the cracks.

The program was launched with only $1 million in funding. But Nicole Travis, administrator for Tampa’s Development & Economic Opportunity division, said staff has ID’d another $4 million in funding and is expecting the City Council to approve the funds Thursday evening.

“We appreciate the collaboration with Tampa City Council to secure the additional funding for the Rental and Move-in Assistance Program,” Travis said. “This is a team effort and together, we will not stop looking for solutions to help make housing accessible and affordable for people in Tampa Bay.”

The extra $4 million will help get assistance for current applicants, but Tampa has started a waiting list for people seeking rental assistance. They are encouraged to sign up for the list online.

Tampa’s rental crisis has grown increasingly dire as high rates of inflation and an investor-driven market have created what City Council Chair Orlando Gudes called an “emergency crisis.”

“People need help at this time,” Gudes said. “We have a crisis situation. I want you to know this Council is stern and firm on doing what we need to do. The administration is working hard. I’m seeing that work.”

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected]

One comment

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    March 16, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    So who is getting insiders trade before it raps up

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