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Hillsborough, Tampa to offer $44 million in rental help

Registration begins next week for the program expected to aid up to 10,000 tenants.
Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa are offering $44 million worth of rental assistance beginning next week.
Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa are offering $44 million worth of rental assistance beginning next week. [ SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Susan Taylor Martin ]
Published Mar. 12
Updated Mar. 12

TAMPA — Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa are kicking off a new round of rental assistance next week with $44 million in federal aid.

The money, from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, will help residents unable to pay their rent and utilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

County officials said they expect to help between 7,400 and 10,000 tenants.

The effort will provide up to $7,500 for past-due rent and up to $750 for past-due TECO electric bills per household. The county will issue direct payments to the utility and to landlords applying the allocation to past-due rent.

Landlord registration is required to participate. Landlords can register starting 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 16. Three information sessions for landlords also are scheduled for next week at 3 p.m. March 17, 1 p.m. March 18 and 10 a.m. March 19.

Online applications open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 23 for tenants.

Related: Here's how much Tampa Bay cities, counties got for pandemic rent relief

The program’s eligibility criteria, documentation requirements for households, and the timeline for the opening of online applications are posted at HCFLGov.net/R3HomeHelp.

Residents of Hillsborough County, including individuals and families in Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace, can apply for assistance. The county urged residents to review eligibility criteria and requirements before applying. Qualifying households must be actively renting and have incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income (AMI) as reported on their 2020 federal income tax filing.

Income limits range from $39,400 for a single-person household to $83,250 for a 10-member household. Priority, however, will be given to eligible households at or below 50 percent of the median income levels or with zero income for the prior 90 days prior.

The county previously used a share of its $257 million appropriation from last year’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act for a two-phased housing assistance program. Phase One disbursed $2.89 million to 1,629 recipients for an average payment of $1,774. A broader second phase distributed shelter and utility assistance totaling $32.2 million to 5,235 recipients, or an average benefit of $6,151.

Related: Florida renters, landlors what we know so far about federal rent help

The new aid is contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which made $25 billion available for rent and utility assistance. Local governments with populations of at least 200,000 received funding. The county received $32.4 million and Tampa got $12 million. The county is administering the program for both local governments.