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Tampa opens new call center to help during housing crisis

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Frances Morales is running out of time and options and is facing eviction.

“As of right now I am facing eviction because I have an open case with Our Florida,” she said. “They keep giving me this circle of, ‘well this paper is missing’ and ‘we’re waiting on your landlord’ and when I contact my landlord she’s like, ‘I can guarantee you it’s not us.'”

She said caseworkers at Our Florida have been rude to her on the phone and that she’s submitted information they’ve requested over and over again.

“I have no family, I have no one out here, it’s just me and two children who are going to be on the streets,” Morales said.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the area is in a housing crisis right now.

“Not only are we looking at the rising rent and mortgage crisis, but also just the availability,” Castor said.

Tuesday the city opened a new information phone line to help provide answers to people like Morales.

“We are putting this group together so our citizens will be able to talk to someone that can help them, assist them, help them navigate through the process of getting rent relief,” Castor said.

Examples of areas where the call center can help are:

  • What resources are available to assist with security deposits?
  • What resources are available to assist with mortgage payments?
  • Who can I contact if I am having problems with my landlord?
  • What resources are available to assist with rental increases within the City of Tampa?
  • Castor says the idea of the call center is to make the information more available and the process simpler for people in need.

“We are trying to make this a much simpler process for them,” Castor said.

The number for the help line is 813-307-5555. The call center will be available Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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