Democratic lawmakers calling for emergency declaration on affordable housing, DeSantis blames Biden

Democratic lawmakers calling for emergency declaration on affordable housing, DeSantis blames Biden

FORT MYERS

Democratic lawmakers are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency over the lack of affordable housing.

Many people in Southwest Florida and across the state are struggling to make ends meet and the increasing rental prices are not helping.

William Clemens is one of those people that are seeing a rent spike.

“A lot of the places I went, they want $1,300 for a studio,” Clemens said. “That’s North Fort Myers.”

Every week, Clemens joins the long line of cars at the Catholic Charities Food Pantries in Southwest Florida to help stretch his money.

“A lot of people are struggling to pay their rent bill,” said Michael Vega, Catholic Charities program manager.

While many are struggling to find an affordable home, Christopher Zubycky feels like he hit the jackpot.

Zubycky lived in a tent for seven years until recently.

“I got on a program, they helped me find a place like this, and it’s amazing, it really is,” he said.

Zubycky adores his one-bedroom apartment at the Cypress Village Apartments. The affordable housing apartment complex opened off of Winkler in recent weeks.

“The prices of rent were going up and it was not so affordable to live in Fort Myers, now that they help me out and do help me out I can live in a house,” he said.

A group of Democratic state lawmakers is hoping to address the affordable housing problem in order to help people like Zubycky.

The group wants DeSantis and the state to recognize any rent price increase of more than 10% as price gouging.

Orlando’s Carlos Guillermo wrote the letter.

“This is an existing statute that is used during states of emergency,” Guillermo said. “During a hurricane, they will enact a state of emergency. And then consumer price protections can be enacted for things like water, gasoline, lumber, batteries.”

DeSantis’ reaction to the letter was to place blame on President Joe Biden.

“What we should do is, we should take that letter and we should forward it to Joe Biden in the White House because things are more expensive because of his policies,” DeSantis said during a press conference on Friday.

DeSantis also pointed toward his budget, talked about his bonuses and incentives for first responders and teachers and more money for affordable housing. DeSantis proposed $335 million in affordable housing initiatives as part of his $99.7 billion plan.

He then doubled down and placed the blame on Biden once again.

That reaction didn’t sit well with Guillermo.

“If the governor wants to keep campaigning for president and fighting wokeness rather than fighting the affordable housing crisis that so many Floridians are dealing with, then that’s just very disappointing, and Floridians deserve better,” Guillermo said.

 

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