Preparing for the Impending Housing Crisis in Central Florida – Bringing the Awareness to the Forefront
We live in a community that supports one another in a time of need. This is one of the many things that makes Central Florida so special – its people. But now, the entire world is in an unprecedented time. The coronavirus pandemic has hit everyone in such an unimaginable way. And in our community, we’ve had job loss and furloughs as businesses shut down or slowed operations in an effort to stop its spread of the virus.
Heart of Florida United Way recently reported there were more than 350,000 households within the tri-county region that were Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – otherwise known as ALICE. These are hard-working individuals that struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing, food, transportation, health care and child care. ALICE is one emergency away from financial ruin – that emergency is here, COVID-19.
Our 211 Resource and Referral Crisis Line directs residents to resources and services that may address their needs. In May, more than 27,000 calls came into the crisis line with 60% being housing or utility-related. When Orange County Government opened its hotline for individual assistance, more than 50,000 calls were received on the first day.
As a compassionate measure and to help those suffering from job loss and furloughs, Governor Ron DeSantis placed a moratorium on housing evictions. While this refuge was a relief, it is temporary. As this moratorium is scheduled to expire on July 1, we know that the rent meter is still running and our community is about to face a tidal wave of evictions. This will, in turn, exacerbate an already existing problem our community faces with homelessness. With a lack of sufficient affordable housing, United Way saw the need to bring this conversation to the forefront. It’s not an easy one to have, but it’s certainly necessary.
We brought together a group of local legal, law enforcement and social service experts to talk about the issue of eviction and what’s been happening during this time to better educate our local nonprofits and service providers. It’s time to raise awareness and start the conversation.
The distinguished panelists included:
Chief Judge Donald Myers, Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Orange County Clerk of Court Tiffany Moore Russell, Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida
Orange County Sheriff John Mina, Orange County Sheriff’s Office
Jamos “Jay” Mobley, consumer and housing attorney, The Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association
Jerika Mobley, staff attorney, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
If you didn’t get the chance to be part of the conversation today concerning the looming housing crisis, you could watch the replay below.