Seasoned lobbyist and political lawyer Ron Book has for several decades been passionate about helping the homeless by providing shelter and housing for those in need and preventing evictions in the Sunshine State.
The Miami-Dade Homeless Trust has received over thirteen thousand phone calls in the last few months from desperate renters looking for help dealing with an impending eviction notice. To this end, evictions are rising in the area, and what can be done to help vulnerable tenants find or keep a place to live?
The rising cost of living is one of the two main factors putting vulnerable people on the streets. Inflation has risen by 6.3%; however, the cost of necessities such as fuel and groceries has risen much higher than the single digits.
In Florida, the cost of gasoline rose nearly 50% from January to June 2022. The cost of diesel fuel rose a whopping 55% during this same time; this doesn’t affect regular motorists, but it does have an outsize impact on grocery prices as most foods are transported to stores in fuel-powered trucks.
Rising rent costs and available units of housing are also a big problem. In Florida, rents have risen a whopping 25.5% since last year, significantly higher than in any other state. The average cost (if you can find one available) of renting a home is just over $3,000 per month in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.
Most evictions happen in lower-income areas, and minority residents are the most likely to be affected. Unfortunately, once a tenant has been evicted, it can be difficult or even impossible for them to rent a home in the future, as landlords are wary of those who have been evicted in the past, even if the individuals in question were responsible tenants who faced unforeseen financial hardships.
Ron Book explains that the Homeless Trust offers several solutions to these challenges. First, it assists those who are about to be evicted to halt the legal proceedings, if at all possible. The trust also offers shelter and housing to those in need, but it goes further than just providing a roof over one’s head. It also connects pre-screened tenants with landlords so that tenants can rent a home when they are financially ready to do so. The program benefits all involved, as landlords can connect with responsible tenants, and potential tenants gain access to long-term housing.
Book has long been an advocate for homeless individuals and those who are at risk of eviction. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge recently praised Ron Book and the work that Homeless Trust is doing to not only help vulnerable citizens find shelter but also prevent homelessness in the first place.
While the current economic environment makes it more difficult for vulnerable tenants to keep a roof over their heads, those needing assistance can always count on Book and the Homeless Trust to have their backs.