Central Florida will soon receive more than $7.8 million in federal funding to help combat the affordable housing crisis and homelessness, U.S. Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto announced Monday.
According to a news release, more than $2 million of the funds will be provided to programs in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties that offer permanent housing to people with mental and physical disabilities, many of whom have been homeless for years. The remainder of the funds will be provided to help shelter homeless youth, support the rehousing of families and provide a boost to each county's housing programs.
"The federal investment will help Central Florida, one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation, support the many organizations that are working to improve access to affordable housing for our rising population," says Murphy, D-Winter Park.
Soto, D-Kissimmee, adds: "While we continue to address affordable housing solutions in Central Florida, the reality is more and more constituents are at risk of becoming homeless. That's why federal grants, such as HUD's Continuum of Care, are crucial for our region to support organizations that provide shelters, transitional and permanent housing programs."
According to a 2018 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition
, the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area ranks second-worst among the country's major metropolitan areas for available housing, with only 17 rental units available for every 100 extremely low-income renters.
The study found that roughly 1 out of 3 households in Orlando are considered "cost-burdened," meaning people are spending more 30 percent of their income on rent or mortgage rather than food, transportation, healthcare and other necessities. To afford a basic studio apartment, renters in the Orlando metro area must earn at least $16.33 per hour – which translates to $33,960 a year. Meanwhile, individuals who earn Florida's minimum wage of $8.25 per hour would have to work at least 84 hours a week just to rent a modest one-bedroom at market rates.
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