TAMPA (WFLA) – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress promised to provide financial relief for Americans fearing eviction because they fell behind on rent.
Families in Hillsborough County that need emergency rental assistance should now turn to ourflorida.com because the county and City of Tampa have reached their limit of more than $54 million in federal funding. The county announced Tuesday it is no longer accepting applications at this time.
“Thirteen-thousand applications were processed and approved and we do expect to receive additional dollars in the future,” said Luisa Rodriguez Zmoda, a Hillsborough County social services training specialist.
8 On Your Side asked Rodriguez Zmoda what other options are available for Hillsborough families struggling to keep up with surging rent prices.
“If they qualify they can receive assistance for other necessities like their utility bill and their water bill and then they can use some of their own money to pay for their rent,” she said.
The price for a one-bedroom apartment in Tampa is up nearly 40 percent since last year.
“I think greed has taken in and we have gouging of rental prices,” Tampa City Council chairman Orlando Gudes recently told 8 On Your Side.
He supports rent stabilization basing prices on inflation, wages, market value and other factors.
“We just got to bite the bullet a little bit and see how we can stabilize it again I don’t have a “rent control,” but stabilize the renting situation,” Gudes said.
USF Professor of Economics Chris Jones said Tampa Bay area rent prices cant continue skyrocketing.
“By the end of this year 2022, we’re going to start witnessing that correction in the marketplace,” Jones said.
At a roundtable with U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), Hillsborough County Commission Chair Kimberly Overman said she expects another $10 million in funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.
A workshop has been scheduled at Tampa City Hall on Feb. 24 to discuss possible solutions to what some are calling a housing crisis.