St. Petersburg announces $3 million to help renters pay utility bills

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St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch at at Enoch D. Davis Center // Chris Young 3/22/24

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A new program may bring relief for St. Petersburg residents struggling with utility bills. The city announced 3 million dollars of federal funds to provide renters relief.

St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch announced the program at a recreation center in South St. Pete on  Friday.

“In our post-pandemic economy, many individuals and families are facing financial challenges and falling behind on their bills and rent. The Rental Utility Relief Program we’re highlighting today can be a beacon of hope for those struggling with the cost of living.”

The $3 million will go towards helping eligible St. Pete renters pay past due electric, sanitation, and water bills from the City and Duke Energy. It’ll cover up to 18 months of utility bills, and be applied directly to their account balance.

This comes as Floridians have seen a sharp increase in utility bills, especially in the last two years. Melissa Seixas is the president of Duke Energy Florida. She acknowledged the increase in utility costs and expects prices to go down for customers.

“Fortunately, natural gas prices have started to decline, and we have already started to see and have been able to pass along the savings to our customers. By the end of this year, we certainly expect that the price to continue to go down around natural gas prices”

Renters must be at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income, among other requirements below.

From City of St Petersburg Communications:

Eligibility Criteria:

– Applicant is a renter within St. Pete city limits or a landlord whose utility costs are part of a rental agreement

– Renter has experienced financial hardship from COVID-19 (inflation is sufficient)

– Renter is at risk of housing instability or homelessness

– Renter household is at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI) – AMI information can be found at www.stpete.org/incomelimits

How to Apply:

– Applicants will use an online portal via the City of St. Petersburg website to apply for assistance for both City of St. Petersburg utilities (water, trash, recycling) and Duke Energy utilities (electric):

– City Utility Relief Program: https://stpetersburgfl.portal.opengov.com/categories/1092/record-types/6493

– Duke Energy Relief Program: https://stpetersburgfl.portal.opengov.com/categories/1092/record-types/6492

 

 

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