Florida

Homeless reach middle-class working families in Florida

Tampa, Florida — Don’t miss the photo of the booming Florida. The state’s population growth over the last decade has led the country, construction has become as part of the state’s landscape as the state’s coastline, and the economy here is thriving, according to the Governor’s Office.

So it may be a little confusing for more middle-class working families to be homeless for the first time in a state that advertises unemployment below national standards for 16 consecutive months.

Angelia Woods and her four children are among them.

“I think you’re homeless,” Woods explained in an interview at the Tampa Hotel Patio, where she and her children have been calling home since July 2021.

Even more confusing is Woods’ solid full-time job as an accountant at the Florida Department of Transportation.

“I talk to people working for the state, and what are they like? Yeah, I’m a state accountant,” she said.

When a state accountant was asked how to make himself and her children homeless, Woods explained, “I have to pay to live, so I can’t afford to save money to move.” bottom.

“I pay almost $ 2000 a month to live here. Well, that’s all my income,” she said. “So I don’t have the money saved to put security in the first month, last month, and you have to think about all the deposits for electricity, the deposits for water. Can’t afford it all, “she recently told investigative journalist Katie Lagrlone.

Woods said the pandemic had forced former employers to close. She said she lost her job and was eventually kicked out because she was waiting for her unemployment allowance and she was paying her rent at the end of the month rather than at the beginning.

Woods and her children had no work, little money, and no peasant farming, but they started hopping the hotel until they found a hotel currently staying in Tampa.

By the time she got an accounting job in the state, the Florida rental market exploded and increased her number to provide her own unrealistic place.

“I tell the kids you work for, you have the right to things. You take care of yourself who have the right to things. So I never thought this would happen and It can be shocking. “

When Woods was asked why she couldn’t get help, she said, “I’m not eligible for help, so you’re making too much money to qualify for help. But I haven’t earned enough money to save to live somewhere else, “she said. I’m in the middle area, that gray area I had a hard time seeing. Throughout my life everything was black or white for me. You do the job you get paid, you don’t do the job you don’t get paid. There wasn’t the middle. I’m gray so I can see the middle now. I’m in that shaded area, where no one really wants to admit, “she explained.

Across the coast of Martin County, Owen Russell and his 17-year-old daughter move to a church in Jensen Beach and stay for two weeks.

“I pack up my luggage every two weeks and go to the next church,” he said. They couchsurfed for months and spent the night in the car before they jumped into the church.

“I feel terrible and terrible. I am a single father and have been raising my daughter alone since I was one and a half years old. I was always there for her and could feed her “Russell said.

But that changed when the landlord died last summer. The family decided to sell the place where he lived. Russell said he would take 10 days to move.

“Ten days, that was all,” he said.

Russell is a transportation provider for non-urgent patients. He describes it as a “good job.” But rental prices in Martin County have risen 20-30% since last year, and Russell said there wasn’t enough income to land them where they could call their income. He asked the landlord to tell me one price and said he raised the price before moving in.

The lack of affordable housing in Florida is a well-known problem throughout the state.

“When they say they’re building a house for a middle-class family, I go to the offer, and I say who can afford this,” Russell asked. In Martin County, some of the homes the county calls “labor” homes range from $ 2,000 to $ 3,000 per month, explains Madeleine Bozon Greenwood’s Executive Director. Martin County Family Promise..The organization is part of One of the leading non-profit organizations in Japan We are dedicated to helping families who are experiencing or are facing the possibility of becoming homeless.

Bozone-Greenwood calls families like Russell and Woods “family with gaps”. “These are our workforce in the gap, as more families are now being covered by government subsidies, but too little for market rent,” she explained.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has poured hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic bailouts into state and local funding to help those struggling to pay rents and mortgages. In 2021, an additional $ 85 million was allocated to Florida, especially to prevent the homeless.

However, Bozone-Greenwood said more families would continue to fall into the “gap” without changing who gets priority and increasing income eligibility requirements for support.

“We have to help families earn higher incomes. These are families whose incomes are not as low as they were defined, but they are still in need of help,” she said. Said.

Owen Russell is currently considering the option of moving across state boundaries to Georgia.

“There is no place to live where I was born. I am a Florida boy and there is no place for me here,” he said.

Angelia Woods plans to stay that way.

“There is a stereotype that you must be single, have children, and be welfare. No, I get up every day and go to work,” she said. “I’m an accountant. I’m already working and already productive.”

July marks the year she and her children were at the same Tampa Hotel. What this mom doesn’t want to miss is her anniversary.

“I don’t want to sympathize with anyone. I don’t want anyone to take care of me. I’m grateful. It’s decent, affordable, and you may not have to be afraid to have kids come out and play. I just want the opportunity to get a place that isn’t there. That’s all I want. “



Homeless reach middle-class working families in Florida

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