TAMPA, Fla. — With Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida, 63-year-old Kenny Lofton confronted two equally terrible eventualities on Wednesday — being evicted from his condominium by his landlord, or being evicted by the storm.
Lofton mentioned he knew staying put might be harmful, however feared leaving his condominium in North Tampa for a shelter as a result of he won’t have a house to return again to when the hurricane lastly passes.
“I’m house packing my belongings,” Lofton advised NBC Information. “I’ve no clue the place to go.”
Lofton is among the greater than 2 million individuals in Florida who have been requested to pack up and evacuate earlier than Hurricane Ian made landfall south of Tampa. However he’s additionally dealing with eviction Friday as a result of, with rising costs, his authorities housing help is now not sufficient to pay the hire.
“I’m looking for one thing at this second,” Lofton mentioned, when requested if he had been searching for a brand new condominium. “It’s sort of laborious proper now, however I’m hanging in there.”
Lofton is hardly alone. 1000’s of Floridians, a lot of them on mounted incomes, have been struggling to remain of their properties as rents have quickly risen in recent times.
And in cities like Tampa, the demand for reasonably priced housing is excessive however the provide is restricted.
Earlier this week, Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat from Orlando who’s working for the U.S. Senate, referred to as on Congress to move the Federal Catastrophe Housing Stability Act “to guard Floridians from foreclosures and evictions throughout and after pure disasters like the upcoming Hurricane Ian.”
“Disasters occur,” Demings mentioned. “However evictions throughout a catastrophe don’t have to. We should always not enable Individuals to go homeless on account of monetary misery throughout an emergency.”
A former chef who has a medical situation that makes it tough for him to work, Lofton mentioned he receives a month-to-month federal examine for $1,178 that’s used to cowl hire, utilities, groceries and different payments.
However the hire on his condominium within the Mirela North advanced that has been his house for 4 years jumped in Could to $1,200, from $980. And he was advised the advanced would now not be accepting Part 8 federal housing vouchers.
“One of many causes that housing voucher holders are unable to make use of these vouchers is as a result of the worth of their vouchers has not saved up with speedy hire will increase,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge mentioned not too long ago.
Lofton mentioned he obtained a number of extensions from the owner throughout which he tried and failed to seek out one other place to hire. He mentioned he has no spouse or kids and never a lot in the best way of household, both.
And now he has three days to depart his condominium.
“How do they anticipate individuals to maneuver?” Lofton mentioned. “It’s not honest in any respect.”
There was no reply when NBC Information referred to as the Mirela administration workplace to see in the event that they nonetheless intend to evict Lofton on Friday.
So, Lofton mentioned, he awakened Wednesday and thanked God for an additional day. However he additionally prayed for a spot to sleep throughout — and after — the storm.