Mayor Jane Castor held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce a new initiative that will help the citizens of Tampa struggling with rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together Fund will be funded by donations from individuals and businesses, including all three of the major sports franchises: The Buccaneers, the Lightning and the Rays & Rowdies, who are each contributing $100,000.
According to a press release put out by the City of Tampa, the COVID-19 Rent, Mortgage & Utility Relief Plan will provide direct rent, mortgage, or utility (water, gas, and electric) payments for eligible individuals, families, and businesses for one month—with the intent of acting as a bridge while many wait for state and federal funds to become available.
"As a lifelong Tampanian, I know one thing to be true: Tampa has grit. When faced with challenges, our community always comes together to help our neighbors in need," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor in a statement provided by the City of Tampa. "One Tampa will provide critical financial support to those hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. For the hardworking individuals who lost their jobs or suffered pay cuts, the parents staying home to take care of their kids, and the small businesses working to keep employees on the payroll and fuel our economy, we need to do all that we can as a City to help our residents when they need it most. As we work to rise above these challenging times together, one thing is clear: we are one city, one community, and one Tampa—united now more than ever."
The Fund will provide individuals and families who reside within Tampa a direct payment of up to $1,000 to help cover their rent or mortgage and up to $250 for essential utilities. For qualifying small businesses, the City will cover up to $4,000 for rent or mortgage and up to $1,000 for utilities.
"We are much stronger together than we'll ever be alone," said a video statement recorded by a representative from each of the major sports organizations, including Buccaneers COO Brian Ford. "When we work as a single team, we can accomplish so much more."
The goal is to offer critical financial assistance to the most in-need residents and business owners in our community, according to the press release. It includes those who may have lost their jobs, who have experienced pay cuts, or are working to keep employees on the payroll.
Qualification requirements and information on how to apply for the One Tampa: Relief Now, Rise Together fund can be found on OneTampa.org or by dialing 2-1-1 and pressing 7. The application process will start for individuals and families on April 17 and on April 21 for businesses. Residents interested in donating themselves can also visit the above website.