TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Help is on the way for some struggling East Tampa homeowners.
The East Tampa Community Redevelopment Agency announced Friday the organization has budgeted nearly $2.5 million for housing affordability and rehabilitation initiatives.
Starting in the spring, residents who live in the East Tampa CRA boundaries and meet income and other requirements can qualify for up to $40,000 per household to rehabilitate their homes, including exterior façade upgrades, minor landscaping upgrades, and more.
Homeowners like Ernest Braxton, who lives in East Tampa, will be able to apply for the grant money to rehabilitate his home.
Braxton has been struggling to maintain his property since a large tree fell on his house more than a year ago and damaged his roof.
“The tree really really did it in. I exhausted some of my funds getting the tree off the house. It cost thousands of dollars,” said Braxton.
While the tree has been removed, the East Tampa CRA and other city and community partners have been diligently working to help him fix the rest of the exterior and landscaping problems his home is facing.
Braxton hasn’t been able to afford to repair his roof and has been out of his home since it happened.
He plans to apply for the new funds with hopes of being able to stay in his home.
“We’ve been here since 88. We raised our children in this house,” said Braxton. “I just want to be in my home.”
The East Tampa CRA has also allocated an additional $1.5 million for rebuilding homes.
Residents within the East Tampa CRA boundaries who have properties that are severely dilapidated will be able to apply for assistance to demolish the existing structure and rebuild it.