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HomeNewsHurricane Ian worsens Florida's housing crisis

Hurricane Ian worsens Florida’s housing crisis

Earlier than Hurricane Ian brought on billions of {dollars} in harm in Florida, Alaura Miller thought of herself part of the decrease center class.

Now, she says, she’s among the many poor.

The cell dwelling Miller rented for $1,000 a month and shared along with her 23-year-old son within the inland neighborhood of Arcadia was so severely broken it should be demolished.

“We actually do not know what path we’re going — whether or not we exit of state or keep,” she stated, including that with out rental help from the Federal Emergency Administration Company she will probably be pressured to maneuver to Texas to stay with one in all her daughters.

Miller, 60, a retired barber, is amongst Floridians on low or mounted incomes struggling to search out reasonably priced housing in one of many nation’s hottest and costly states to stay.

“Florida got here into this hurricane season already having a scarcity of reasonably priced housing, significantly for people who find themselves working in service jobs and different decrease wage jobs,” stated Anne Ray, a researcher on the College of Florida’s Shimberg Heart for Housing Research.

“And so, individuals who have misplaced their houses are going to be competing with the people who find themselves already looking for reasonably priced housing. It is a robust, robust scenario.”

Housing prices have climbed in recent times for renters and owners, Ray stated.

Residents of cell houses clear up particles within the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Fla. on Sept. 29. Giorgio Viera / AFP by way of Getty Photographs

“There have been actually excessive accelerating rents in Florida, significantly over the previous 12 months,” she stated. “And wages have not stored tempo. So, the general pattern is that this rising hole between what housing prices and what folks can afford to pay based mostly on their wages.”

Miller was capable of receive a generator Tuesday and plans to remain at the back of her cell dwelling, which she stated sustained much less harm than the entrance of the home, till her landlord demolishes it.

“The kitchen and the 2 bedrooms are intact, however we’re not going to have the ability to keep right here lengthy as a result of he is [the landlord] going to must demolish it,” she stated.

Miller stated that between her meager financial savings and the cash her son earns as a Winn-Dixie grocery store worker, the 2 cannot afford a extra pricey rental. Arcadia is in one of many state’s poorest counties.

People who find themselves displaced from Arcadia would have a troublesome time discovering one thing related elsewhere within the state, Ray stated. The median sale worth for a single-family dwelling in Arcadia was $138,500 within the first half of 2021, in comparison with $324,900 for these statewide, in line with information supplied by the Shimberg Heart on the College of Florida. Median gross lease, which means lease and utilities, in Arcadia was $750 in 2020, in comparison with $1,218 in Florida.

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Brenda West, 69, a retired respiratory remedy technician and widow, additionally paid $1,000 a month to lease a modest two-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling in Myakka Metropolis that was destroyed by Ian. West shared the house along with her daughter, Gwendolyn Homosexual, who has a number of sclerosis and whom she cares for. Each girls accumulate incapacity, West stated. With restricted assets and no household in Florida, the 2 have been staying at a shoddy motel in Bradenton that West has reserved by means of Friday.

“After that, I do not know the place I am going,” she stated Wednesday. “My assets is about to expire.”

The pair cannot go to a shelter as a result of West stated her daughter’s a number of sclerosis prevents her from sleeping on a cot. Moreover, her daughter has a terrier that’s within the means of changing into her service canine and can make them ineligible to remain in a shelter, West stated. West has signed up for help from FEMA and is ready for the company to evaluate the harm on the dwelling she rented.

“I do know there’s extra folks worse than we’re however you do not know that you will be homeless,” West stated. “You by no means take into consideration that. You by no means assume that one thing like this may occur to you till you are in it. After which swiftly it simply hits you within the face, ‘Oh my gosh, it is actual, that is truly occurring.’ It by no means occurred to me earlier than. And I am positive for lots of different folks it hasn’t both, however to me, it’s simply devastating.”

She added: “I’ve by no means been put ready earlier than the place I’ve needed to fear about the place I’ll stay or the place I’ll go.”

West’s landlord, Veronica Younger, who lives subsequent door to the mom and daughter, stated she had no flood insurance coverage for both dwelling. She has rented to West and Homosexual for practically two years. Each properties sit on about 20 acres, and not less than two ft of water accrued in her dwelling, Younger stated.

Ray, the housing knowledgeable, stated Florida has a powerful reasonably priced housing belief fund that has been used to rebuild communities and particularly to supply reasonably priced houses and rental items in communities which have been hard-hit by disasters.

“We’ll want to consider how that housing is constructed in order that it is resilient to storms and local weather dangers,” Ray stated.

Florida may even must have a various housing inventory that features choices for decrease paid staff “and to rebuild within the most secure and most resilient approach attainable and within the most secure, most resilient locations attainable,” she stated.

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