TAMPA, Fla. — The City of Tampa launched a Housing Information Line on Tuesday that will connect people with housing resources as the city continues to deal with a growing housing affordability crisis.
The new hotline will help connect people in Tampa to resources including avenues to avoid eviction, support in navigating landlord/tenant issues, rental and mortgage assistance, and more.
"We are putting this group together so that our citizens will be able to talk to someone that can help them, assist them, navigate through the process of getting rent relief, mortgage relief, or whatever the issue is that they are struggling with at the time," said Mayor Jane Castor. "We’re trying to make this a much simpler process for them.”
Operators will be available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 813-307-5555.
“In times of crisis, such as when people are on the brink of eviction due to rental increases, we know how difficult it can be to research and locate the best option for resources,” said Kayon Henderson, Manager of Housing and Community Development for the City of Tampa. “Our trained housing experts are well-versed in available resources across our community, within the state and beyond and can provide that connection.”
Henderson said they've spent the last couple of days trying to train up staff to make sure that they can field these calls and navigate people to different housing resources.
The city said the following are examples of questions operators can help people handle.
- What resources are available to assist with security deposits?
- What resources are available to assist with mortgage payments?
- Who can I contact if I am having problems with my landlord?
- What resources are available to assist with rental increases within the City of Tampa?
"This is not going to take the place of Council’s recently passed Tenant Advocacy Office," said Tampa City Council Member Lynn Hurtak. "This is sort of a stop-gap measure. One of the great things about this program is that we’re going to be able to see what kind of needs are out there. It can help target the advocacy office and see where the real need is and who else might need help that we don’t know about yet.”
Robin Lockett, the Regional Director of the Tampa Bay region with Florida Rising, shared what more she thinks needs to be done to tackle the growing problem.
“The end result with us is rent stabilization, declaring housing a state of emergency, and putting it on ballot to let the people vote on it," said Lockett. "That’s the end result.”