WHAT IS THE PRICE OF PARADISE?
As Tampa Bay continues to attract new residents and businesses, the impact of living in paradise comes at a cost for all of us— from the increasing cost of housing and infrastructure to utilities and insurance. ABC Action News is committed to helping you and your family make the most of your money and navigate through the Price of Paradise. https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/price-of-paradise/local-nonprofit-launches-new-program-to-help-people-on-the-verge-of-eviction
By: JJ Burton
Posted at 3:55 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2:27 AM, Jun 15, 2022
TAMPA, Fla. — The Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa (also known as the CDC) has launched a new program geared to help families on the verge of being evicted.
The CDC used money from the $46.5 billion emergency rental assistance Congress passed to help families rebound from the pandemic. The CDC partnered with United Way Suncoast and their partnership is designed to help individuals (or households) who are behind on rent or expecting to fall behind on rent; have a household income at 80% or below the Area Median Income and have experienced financial hardship since March 2020. They hired a community navigator.
“[They] work with people at risk of eviction.” Ronda Watts said. “Being able to provide them with resources that are important. We partnered with Bay Area Legal to help those people navigate the eviction process. And we also provide direct financial assistance for some people that may qualify.”
Watts is the Chief Operating Officer for the CDC. She’s been in that position for quite some time and she’s never seen rent as high as it is.
“In my personal opinion it’s just inhumane,” she said.
They’ve been able to help about 60 people so far. Agretta Britt is one of those people. She’s a single mom of one and works two jobs and can barely make ends meet. She had to miss about seven days of work last November because she got sick. That put her behind with the rent.
“Even though you’re sick, you still gotta eat. You still gotta pay lights, your children have to go to school, and you still gotta put gas in the car and pay insurance,” she said.
Things went from bad to worse when she was about to be evicted.
“I was in a feeling of darkness, “ she said. “All you can see is darkness when you know you don’t have it.”
She turned to God for help, and that’s what she got a few days later. She found a letter from the CDC — about the new program— in her mailbox.
“God told me not to be scared,” she said. “He made the way.”
The CDC and Our Florida were able to pay her rent. They actually got her caught up for two months, giving her enough time to get her finances in order.
The CDC mainly helps folks living in the zip codes 33605 and 33610 because those are the communities that need to most help right now, and it’s where the CDC is based. But, they do help folks in other communities, and they will work with you to find other help that’s out there.
Britt is grateful for the help and glad she and her daughter weren’t evicted, but she’s still scared.
“I think my rent is about to go up,” she said. If that happens she will have to get a third job, taking her away from her daughter even more.