MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - More and more people across South Florida are finding themselves out of work and renters are dealing with a living nightmare.
Hundreds of people throughout South Florida have lined up for emergency rent assistance because they have lost their jobs and don’t have the money to pay their bills.
“I have been out of work since March 20th,” one woman said.
Another woman said, “It is just a situation that you would never think you would be in.”
Rent assistance was supposed to be a lifeline for those out of work to keep them in their homes but there is not nearly enough money to help everyone who needs it.
Most programs have stopped accepting applications.
John De La Hoz, who is struggling to pay rent, said, “So I started Monday morning, called about 100 times between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. At no point was there a call waiting or an answer. It was just busy the whole time.”
John De La Hoz has five young children and lost his job as a bellman at a hotel on Miami Beach.
De La Hoz said, “Luckily, I had some money saved. I know some people did not have money saved, but I’m down to the last 100.”
With just $100 in the bank, John has not been able to pay his rent for two months.
Despite calling the Miami Beach Rent Relief program many times over, he never got through the first day.
By the second day there were no more appointments available.
De La Hoz said, “The landlord is still pressing me about the rent. The lights are going to get cut off.”
John tried going through the Miami Beach Rent Assistance program, but they only have about $550,000 in funding to help nearly 100 families.
The City of Miami has $2 million in funding, which is only enough to help about 1,300 families.
De La Hoz said, “So now I am stuck, stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
It could soon get much harder because evictions are set to start again on June 2, which means people who are behind on rent could get thrown out.
Patrice Paladino of Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida said, “I really do have an issue that we have placed a moratorium on all these evictions and foreclosures because we don’t want people to be homeless, but then what happens once the moratorium is lifted? Then we are OK with everyone being homeless?”
Paladino is worried and said there is no plan once evictions start again in less than two weeks.
Paladino said, “I think the best advice I can give people is not to put your head in the sand.”
Talking with your landlord frequently and getting a payment plan in writing can help.
John is still waiting on his unemployment check and said that will go right to his landlord.
De La Hoz said, “I’ve applied at every place that they said, Walmart, Walgreens, I went right down the street, nobody is hiring.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office and the City of Miami Police Department said they expect a high amount of evictions beginning in June.
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