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Tampa's new rental assistance program reaches maximum amount of applications

Money good for deposits and monthly subsidies
Posted at 3:32 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 05:12:56-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A pilot program announced Wednesday to give renters in Tampa another option to receive assistance reached the maximum number of applications by noon on Thursday.

City leaders announced the Rental and Move-in Assistance Program (RIMAP) designed to help Tampa residents who are struggling with rental increases and paying for security deposits. The program launched on March 1.

"We are now able to pay security deposit, first and last month as well as ongoing monthly rental subsidies," Kayon Henderson, of Tampa's Housing and Community Development Division, said.

There are a few qualifications in order to apply. A person must live within Tampa city limits or plan to move to the city and the salary cap for a single person to apply is $72,380 dollars. There are higher limits for larger households.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the city looked at enacting rental caps, however, she said that has a possibility of detouring developers from the area.

"If we put the caps on rents, rent stabilization that is going to kill development in our particular area. Developers are going to go to other locations throughout the United States," Mayor Castor said.

On the first day of the launch, more than 100 applications flooded the system. By Thursday, the program was closed to applications.

That news is not surprising to renters like Heather Derigo.

"I must be one out of so many thousands of people who are in this predicament," Derigo said.

She said she is feeling the rent pinch like so many others. Three years ago when she moved into her Tampa apartment, she was paying $970 dollars a month. Her renewal is now $500 dollars more.

"I recently went back in there and I basically pleaded with them and said can you please work with me," Derigo said.

She was fortunate enough to convince her landlord to shave off $200 dollars a month. But with a $1,300 dollar rent now in place; she said that is still stretching it thin.

"It is a huge jump, and I honestly am in a position where I don't know," Derigo said.

City leaders are requesting an additional $4-million dollars from council members on Thursday.

If you're interested in the program, the city's website has more information including all of the requirements. As of March 10, the program reached the maximum number of applications and it's currently closed. You can sign up for the city's waitlist here.