Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Florida Housing Crisis: How Residents Manage to Find a Place to Sleep

Orlando Florida. , Despite the fact that Florida ranks first in the United States as the destination for most people to move to in 2021, dozens of residents of that state have faced rising rents and property prices that fuel the housing crisis. may mark the beginning of

According to various sector experts, high monthly payments, expensive property prices, and low wages, among other factors, compel residents to look for other cheaper housing options such as renting a motel or hotel room.

I can’t pay the rent!

The Florida peninsula, with its warm climate and low cost of living compared to other US states, has attracted thousands of new residents in just a few months.

These three factors put the state in first place with new residents last year, according to a study by Move.org.

For years, Florida enjoyed the reputation of being one of the cheapest states to raise a family, but that recognition has fueled economic growth in both private and rental property.

For example, in August 2022, the median home price in Florida is set to reach $407,000.

In terms of rents, over three years, the four largest metropolitan areas exceeded the percentage increase nationally: Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami raised their rents by between 32% and 61%, respectively, while the rest of the country The portions increased. 24%.

In parallel, Florida raised the minimum wage to $11 an hour in September 2022.

Monthly Cost of 1 Bedroom Apartment in 2022

  • Jacksonville: $1,249
  • Orlando: $1,628
  • Tampa: $1,647
  • Miami: $2,599

“Beatriz”, (a pseudonym we’ll use to protect her identity as a survivor of gender violence) is one of those who have to live in a hotel room that measures only two “full”. Allows space for beds. ,

“I am a woman who … has been … who has experienced a very strong process of domestic violence. I have had to leave many things behind for the safety of my children. I was living (in the house with his ex-partner) until June 2017 and then I lost the apartment… and since then… I was homeless till date,” said the mother of four, with whom she also stays in the hotel.

What is the reason for the housing crisis? Who are affected? Telemundo 31 explores the top questions about the challenges of living under one roof in Florida.

Some people who qualify for extended hotel stays do so with state-subsidized programs for extreme emergencies.

Others, often with no credit history in the country because they are immigrants who recently arrived in the nation, make expensive monthly payments to live in hostels.

How did we get into the housing crisis?

Some Floridians attribute the high prices to the Great Recession that lasted from late 2007 to mid-2009.

As a result, around 991 financial institutions were part of the bank bailout carried out by the government in 2008.

The bailout included allocating $700,000 of public money to buy junk assets such as mortgage-backed securities from national banks to avoid bankruptcy.

In fact, REALTYTRAC®’s year-end report published in 2009 showed a record 2.8 million properties under foreclosure in the United States, up from 3.9 million at the end of the year.

How did we get into trouble?

Following the bank bailout, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted, legislation passed by the United States Congress in response to financial industry behavior that led to the 2007–2008 crisis.

They summarize the recession of 2007 to 2008 and the beginning of the current crisis.

The Homeless, the Elderly and the Workers: The Faces of the Crisis

The Housing and Urban Development Authority does not list people as homeless if they live in hotels, with relatives or friends, limiting federal resources to help these vulnerable communities.

In contrast, Florida has the third largest homeless population in the country, at 27,487 people. Of that number, 12,672 do not have shelter and 14,815 have.

workers in the tourism and hospitality industry

On the other hand, Florida – the entertainment capital for its theme parks – reported that 1,253,900 people belong to the tourism and hotel industry workforce for September 2022.

However, the average wage for these workers is $15.48 per hour.

Mothers, retirees and workers tell of the daily battle to find property and pay rent.

In other words, the employees working in this sector do not earn enough to meet their basic needs like monthly rent payment.

The same happens with the elders as well. Of the roughly 21 million Florida residents, about 4.2 million are age 65 or older, according to the census. Many of them depend entirely on their pension to pay for their monthly expenses, including rent without owning a property.

In fact, according to data from the Social Security Administration (SSA), a retiree in Orlando, located in the heart of the state, can earn more than $1,347.03 per month.

victims of hurricane ian

Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on September 28, 2022, ranking as the deadliest in the United States in nearly two decades with devastating consequences for the state.

As of October 2022, approximately 1,700 people were still in emergency shelters as most of them found their homes uninhabitable.

Are there short term solutions?

From April 2020 to July 2021, Florida recorded the largest inflow of internal migration, totaling 220,000 people.

The census indicated that many buyers come from expensive markets such as New York and San Francisco, where home prices and wages are generally much higher.

For example, the median home price in San Francisco is $1.3 million, while in Miami it fluctuates between $550,000.

Some experts on the subject understand that one of the possible solutions is to convert extended-stay hotels into studio apartments.

Because these hotels already have bathrooms and kitchens, it’s easier to repurpose the space to rent as housing, according to research by LaSalle Management.

Recent sales across the country indicate that the total value of hotels sold for conversion over the next five years will be between $25,000 and $30,000.

Also, it should be noted that during the COVID-19 crisis, the hotel industry was affected in cities whose main economy comes from tourism.

University experts and politicians talk about affordable housing and the challenges it presents for those affected by Hurricane Ian.

For Orange County District 4 Commissioner Maribel Cordero, “It’s one of the ideas that we brought up to the mayor a few months ago, where we can invest in these hotels that are well built … but they Remodel and put them in livable conditions so people can experience it.”

For her part, Orange County’s District 3 commissioner Myra Uribe says she is “working with a company on the OBT (Orange Blossom Trail) where they’re going to make the hotel look like apartments.”

Other organizations, such as Rebuilding Together, propose fighting donation ditches. The entity believes that one of the ways to help and solve the problem in the short term is to help repair homes that the owners cannot afford due to the economic situation.

“Earlier, a (repair) roof cost $12,000 or $10,000. Now it costs $20,000. So, people can pay for the house, but they cannot afford these repairs, leading to a precarious situation. starts because either you have to pay more for insurance and you have to figure out how to do it or your house starts to deteriorate to such an extent that there comes a point when the roof falls in on you “, explained the organization’s spokesman José García.

Help is available in case of housing crisis

Orange, Orlando, Kissimmee, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia, Polk, Among other countries and cities, they provide financial assistance for qualified renters and homeowners.

These programs typically exist in both cities and counties. However, assistance is limited and not always available depending on the season.

Below are the available supports:

  • Assistance for urgent repairs on a property
  • Assistance with paying the down payment for a home
  • rent payment assistance
  • FEMA

With regard to Section 8, the federal Affordable Housing Program (HUD), which allows very low-income families to receive vouchers to pay rent, there is a long wait due to the high demand from residents applying for assistance. Listing is a process that can take years.

However, the agency that administers Section 8 announced that from October 2022 the amount of aid for coupons to pay rent has been established based on rental prices in the private sector, not in the public sector, as they Have done for decades.

According to officials, the change was due to price cuts, which meant recipients could no longer rent space with coupon amounts.

Damaris Aberasturia of Orange County Housing and Community Development explained that “depending on income, assistance is given before closing and we give you a check that could be $20,000, $35,000 or $45,000, which helps reduce the mortgage debt.” does.”

While with monthly rent payments, Frances de Jesus, from the same office but in the city of Kissimmee, said they can offer more help, up to $5,000 a month.

However, the Seminole Community Assistance Division only provides assistance to people if they can show they are having difficulty paying rent, even if they are not behind on rent.

Project Vision 2050

Local officials and elected officials in charge of allocating housing funds discuss housing construction in Florida.

It is projected that by 2050 the orange population will increase by 700,000 people, to exceed 2 million inhabitants.

This projection has prompted the City of Orlando in Orange County to construct additional buildings.

Among the construction plans, there are affordable houses in a plan called “Vision 2050”.

Other housing initiatives are promoted by Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, with many of their employees finding it most difficult to pay for their homes with the wages they earn at the parks.

Walt Disney World plans to build more than 1,300 housing units on approximately 80 acres of land in Orange County, including downtown Orlando.

Jeff Wahle, executive chairman of Walt Disney World Resort, said it was “a new initiative designed to help address a growing problem in our country and our region: affordable housing.”

Separately, Universal Parks & Resorts committed to “use 20 acres of land in the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor for 1,000 units of affordable and mixed-income housing,” said John Sproles, executive vice president of Universal Parks & Resorts. “

Florida has projected a deficit of 500,000 affordable homes for low- and moderate-income families, according to data from the Florida Housing Coalition.

Nation World News Desk
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