The City of Tampa is devoting one million dollars from the general fund to pay for this program.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A new rental assistance program is now available to Tampa residents.

The City of Tampa is devoting one million dollars from the general fund to pay for this program.

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If you qualify for the new program, the City of Tampa could pay for security deposits and first and last months rent, something many renters say will be very helpful.

Ashley James lives in Tampa and says “So I’ve noticed with rent prices, they’ve gone through the roof.”

She says the increasing rent prices are getting hard to keep up with.

“When we started, I think it was maybe $1,700, $1,800 when we first moved in three years ago and now we’re paying close to $2,500.”

She says although the prices are rising, she isn’t putting the blame on anyone.

“Businesses have to keep up with their expenses and of course they have to increase cost even if they don’t want to,” said James.

Now the City of Tampa is stepping in to help.

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“The last thing that we can afford is to have individuals pushed out of the city limits because they can’t afford to live here,” said Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor.

Kayon Henderson with the City of Tampa “We’ll pay a security deposit, first and last month as well as ongoing monthly rental subsidy.”

Costar Group reports the average renter in Tampa Bay saw their rent go up more than $300.

“We’re getting tons of calls for help,” said Orlando Gudes with the City of Tampa.

Since the program opened March 1, 560 applications have been submitted.

“A family of one who wants to apply for assistance if they make up to $72,380, they can still qualify for this program,” said Henderson.

James is encouraging everyone to have hope and stay strong.

“It seems like right now we are going through inflation galore but I think it will get better.”

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In order to be approved for the assistance, both landlords and tenants have to provide documentation and cooperate with the city.