When The Resources Dry Up: Florida’s Housing Crisis
When you think of Florida, you imagine Disney World, white sand beaches, palm trees, laid back culture and good food. What more could you ask for in the perfect place to live, work and play?
Native and newcomer Floridians definitely didn’t ask for Florida to earn the unfavorable title of “The least affordable place to live in the United States”.
In a February Rental Report by Realtor.com, the top three Sun Belt metros in terms of rent growth were Miami, Orlando and Tampa, in that order. The Miami area’s median rent was at a whopping $2,929 with a 55.3% rent year to year increase. The Orlando area’s median rent was $1,843 with a 33.4% rent year to year increase. Tampa area’s median rent was $2,098 with a 32.3% rent year to year increase.
According to new data released by the U.S. Council on Homelessness, Florida has the third-largest homeless population in the country at 27,487 and counting. Finding attainable affordable housing is not for the faint of heart; the options are far and few between. With a limited number of affordable apartments, houses, or condos in Central Florida, and years of living in limbo to only have your name put on the waiting list, the affordable housing market is next to impossible.
We are living in a housing crisis, leaving families high and dry. Every weekday, individuals and families experiencing hardships, hunger, and homelessness come to The Sharing Center seeking help in their time of need.
Individuals like 43-year-old Matt, visit The Sharing Center’s Oasis frequently. The out-of-work heavy equipment operator has been taking temp work and living in motels when he can afford it. Hopping from motel to motel, Matt uses his pay from whatever temp service job he works for the day, and buys himself a bus ticket, a night in a motel, and has a few extra dollars left in his pocket to swing by a Dollar Tree and buy his one meal for the day.
Matt states, “I can’t get ahead. Four years ago I visited the Pantry at The Sharing Center for the first time. My situation is a little harder this time around. Places like the Oasis really help out. I am able to do laundry, shower, and have a meal. Every time I’ve come to the Oasis, the services are immediate. I was gifted a bike by The Sharing Center so that I could save money traveling from my job to my motel for the night.”
Matt’s situation isn’t out of the ordinary. How can someone making a weekly pay be able to get ahead enough to afford first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit? It is an endless cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.
Thankfully, Matt has found himself visiting The Sharing Center, where he can receive the helping hand towards stability that he needs. The Sharing Center has been able to provide him a bus pass to help with his work trips, and is working one-on-one in case management to find a long-term solution. Learn more about getting involved with The Sharing Center’s mission at https://thesharingcenter.org/ourprograms.