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 could possibly 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 dwelling packing my belongings,” Lofton informed NBC Information. “I’ve no clue the place to go.”
Lofton is without doubt one of the greater than 2 million individuals in Florida who had 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 in search of a brand new condominium. “It’s type of onerous proper now, however I’m hanging in there.”
Lofton is hardly alone. 1000’s of Floridians, a lot of them on fastened incomes, have been struggling to remain of their properties as rents have quickly risen lately.
And in cities like Tampa, the demand for inexpensive housing is excessive however the provide is proscribed.
Earlier this week, Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat from Orlando who’s operating for the U.S. Senate, referred to as on Congress to cross 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 must. We should always not enable Individuals to go homeless as a consequence 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 verify 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 dwelling for 4 years jumped in Might to $1,200, from $980. And he was informed 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 stored up with fast hire will increase,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge mentioned not too long ago.
Lofton mentioned he acquired 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 go away his condominium.
“How do they anticipate individuals to maneuver?” Lofton mentioned. “It’s not truthful 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.