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economics

Evictions in Orlando

The Orlando Sentinel did a recent three part story in evictions. The story that I am posting about today was published on May 13. The woman at the heart of the first part of the story is Jocelyn Bennett, a nursing assistant who lost her job at a senior living facility. Dexter, her husband, had been between jobs, finding work through a temp agency. They were already on food stamps. In April, they couldn’t cover the rent. Their landlord told them they needed to be out in 30 days. And the family became homeless in a matter of weeks.

She claims that they cannot find a job. Bullshit. My hospital has more than a dozen openings for nursing assistants. We are supposed to have eight nursing assistants on each floor on each shift. Lately, we have had as few as three. We are also short on biomedical technicians (they repair medical devices like ECG machines, ventilators, medication pumps, etc.), we need telemetry monitors, nurses, and even people to work in the kitchens.

The article blames minimum wage, claiming that the minimum wage has only gone up by $2.50 since 2005. In 2005, Florida’s minimum wage was $6.15 an hour. They estimate that an Orlando resident would have to make $23 an hour, or a $47,840 yearly salary, to afford a two-bedroom rental that costs $1,248 per month. What? Where do they get these numbers from? Since $47K a year is far above the average wage for Orlando, how is everyone else affording all of these apartments?

Here is Bennet’s problem: She has 5 fucking kids. She couldn’t afford them before COVID. That isn’t her landlord’s fault. It isn’t because of minimum wage. It isn’t because she can’t find a job, nor is it because rent is too expensive. It is because our government pays people to have more kids, so she is literally breeding for a living.

The second woman was Alexiss Green, who quit her $50k a year job, then bought two houses while she rented another. Her intention was to flip the two houses, probably because she watches too much HGTV. Her investment failed, and she lost both houses, can no longer pay rent, and now we are all supposed to feel sorry for her and screw over her landlord by letting her live in her apartment for free.

“I’m not a deadbeat person who doesn’t pay her bills, I’m just a person in a hard situation,” Green said. She said she understands her landlord has bills, too, “but I don’t have control over what’s going on in the world right now.”

Regardless, I don’t see how any of this is her landlord’s problem. See, he made a wise business decision and is successful in his business. For that, he should be required to let her live in his home for free?

Her landlord, who’s in his 70s, says he’s on a fixed income and is using Social Security payments to pay his mortgage. He doesn’t have a lawyer, either.

A week later, the judge’s ruling arrives in the mail. Green prays over the envelope before ripping it open. It’s bad news. The judge ruled she hadn’t made any “timely partial payments,” even $5 or $10 a month. She has 10 days to move out.

Note: It has been over a year since she paid a single dime in rent. Not even a dollar. Yet we are supposed to feel sorry for her and throw the landlord out into the street.

A few days later, Green gets an email from Lake County saying she’s been approved for $9,000 in rent relief. According to county staff, it will go to the landlord who evicted her.

That is only fair, since she lived in the house for over a year- owing $22,000 in unpaid rent, with the landlord only receiving a single $4,000 government rent assistance payment. This $9,000 doesn’t even cover half of what the landlord is owed, once court costs for the eviction are factored in.

This isn’t an eviction crisis. It is a stupid people who don’t know how to run their lives, but expect everyone else to pay their freight crisis.

3 replies on “Evictions in Orlando”

I’ve got to say, I’ve never heard anyone argue that a lower minimum wage causes unemployment. Higher minimum wages causing unemployment, though, shows up every time it’s studied. That’s the O’Sentinel’s stellar reporting right there.

As for the woman being an unemployed nursing assistant it’s always possible that she’s a particularly bad nursing assistant and every employer who looks into her background decides hiring her wouldn’t be a good idea.

Short of having a criminal history or being barred by Medicare from working in a facility due to Medicare fraud, I don’t think it would matter. It is so bad right now that the hospital where I work is hiring uncertified nursing assistants.

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