R3 Utility and Housing Assistance Overview
R3 Utility and Housing Assistance is available for residents who have had an involuntary reduction of wages or who are involuntarily newly unemployed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The funding aims to prevent recipients from experiencing further financial hardship or additional consequences to living conditions by assisting them with a lump sum payment directly to eligible residents to be used for rent and mortgage payments and financial assistance for past-due utility (electric) bills.
Prior to starting your application, please review the eligibility criteria and the paperwork requirements that you will be required to upload in your application. Applications missing information or providing insufficient paperwork will be denied.
The portal is open and accepting applications. Financial assistance is awarded on a first-come basis and while funding remains available. It is recommended you complete your application all at once to ensure your application is submitted before the funding is accounted for.
For questions or assistance, call (866) 538-2926 to speak with a Customer Call Center Representative. The call center is open from 8 AM until 6 PM Monday through Friday.
Who is eligible for R3 Utility and Housing Assistance through Social Services?
Any income-qualifying (120% AMI or below) resident in Hillsborough County, including residents of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace, who saw a reduction in or loss of wages resulting from a layoff or a reduction of hours due to COVID-19.
Households applying for housing assistance must have an active lease or mortgage obligation, and households applying for assistance with past-due electric utility bills must have a past due bill in the applicant's name.
Income Qualifications: Your household income must be at or below 120% Area Median Income qualifications as reported on your 2019 Tax Return (IRS form 1040 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)) for the year:
(2019 Tax Return)
Max Annual Income
1 person Up to $59,160 2 people Up to $67,560 3 people Up to $75,960 4 people Up to $84,360 5 people Up to $91,200 6 people Up to $97,920 7 people Up to $104,640 8+ people Up to $111,360
Eligibility also requires no more than $3,600 in cash and in bank accounts and the applicant, who is directly affected by COVID-19, must be currently responsible for paying rent/mortgage/utility bills. For instance, if the lease agreement is only in your spouse's name, your spouse must be the one to apply for assistance with Social Services.
What documents do I need to apply for assistance?
You will need all of the following when applying:
- Scanned copy of the front of your valid Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card
- Copy of your 2019 Federal income tax return (Form 1040 - front and back)
- Copy of your lease (first and last pages with both tenant and landlord signatures) or latest mortgage statement (all pages) and/or copy of your latest past-due utility statement from TECO (must have your name or the name of someone who is on your tax return)
- Verification of circumstances (pre- and post- COVID impact). Acceptable forms are:
- Furlough or lay-off letter from employer detailing employment start date, when layoff/reduction was, and reason for layoff/reduction
- If your furlough letter does not have the required details explaining your circumstance as noted above, then evidence of your last full paycheck received (pre-COVID impact), AND one form of proof of loss due to COVID is required. Acceptable forms:
- Evidence of last full paycheck:
- Pay stub
- Pay statement
- Check image
- Bank statement page that shows the direct deposit
- One form of proof of loss of income related to COVID-19 impacts due to loss of employment:
- Copy of first paycheck showing reduction (must be after March 1)
- Unemployment statement from company
- Company-issued proof of loss statement
- Approved unemployment letter
- Evidence of last full paycheck:
These attachments may be in the following formats when uploaded: PDF, JPG, PNG, or Word document.
Note: If you do not attach all necessary files, your application will not be accepted, and you will not receive financial assistance.
How do I apply for assistance?
You can apply online through the Rapid Response Recovery (R3) Assistance Program Online Portal. If you experience problems when applying, you may call (866) 538-2926 to speak with a Customer Call Center Representative who will provide support and guidance. The call center is open from 8 AM until 6 PM Monday through Friday.
If I've received assistance from Social Services in the past, can I still apply?
If you have received assistance from Social Services, you are still eligible to apply for financial assistance. If you received R3 Assistance during Phase I, your benefit in Phase II will be modified to reflect previous assistance.
What does the assistance pay for?
The funds are for payment towards your rent or mortgage and past-due utility (electric) bills.
What is the deadline to apply?
Financial assistance is awarded on a first-come basis and while funding remains available. It is recommended you complete your application all at once to ensure your application is submitted before the funding is accounted for.
Can more than one person in our household apply for assistance?
Only one application per household will be accepted and must be in the name of the person affected by COVID-19. If on your 2019 Tax Return you and your spouse filed as “married filing separately,” only one of you can apply for assistance.
What if I have a baby but they aren’t included on my 2019 Tax Return? Do they count towards my household size?
Eligibility and household size will be based off your 2019 Tax Return, not current household size.
Am I eligible if I meet some, but not all, of the eligibility requirements?
No. You must meet ALL eligibility requirements to be eligible.
How much will I get if I’m approved for assistance?
Once your application is accepted and you are determined eligible, your financial assistance amount for housing assistance will depend on the number of persons in your household and when your loss of wages began. Housing assistance payments will be mailed directly to the address the applicant provides. The chart below shows how much financial assistance an approved applicant could receive for every month directly affected by COVD-19.
Housing Assistance Benefit Amount
(2019 Tax Return)
Max Annual Income
1 person Up to $59,160 $1,055 2 persons Up to $67,560 $1,266 3 persons Up to $75,960 4 persons Up to $84,360 $1,462 5 persons Up to $91,200 6 persons Up to $97,920 $1,631 7 persons Up to $104,640 8+persons Up to $111,360 $1,800
Depending on past-due utility (electric) charges, residents could receive up to $750 depending on charges between March and July 2020.
If I'm approved for assistance, how long will it take to receive my money?
Every request is unique and processing eligibility and payment time will vary. Your payment could take several weeks to arrive, but you will be able to track the status of your application online. Once approved, it may take up to 45 days to receive your check.
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