Originally published in the Tampa Bay Times on February 18, 2023.
Securing safe and affordable housing in Florida is quickly becoming a luxury. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this first-hand in the past couple of years has at least heard about this crisis or knows somebody who has been affected. Florida even made national news for its housing crisis, with Orlando, Miami and Tampa called out for having some of the fastest-rising rents in the country.
While it is evident that rent, in particular, is consuming a higher percentage of Floridians’ paychecks, many people don’t see the effect this housing crisis has on the state’s social service infrastructure. Social services are supports that provide some of our most vulnerable citizens with pathways to better lives, including programs that help parents avoid child maltreatment and help people with serious mental illness avoid unnecessary involvement with the criminal justice system. But as housing prices continue to rise, the ability of our social service infrastructure to help is eroding.