Ask your legislator the questions on affordable housing

There Is A Serious Housing Crisis In The 'City Beautiful'

Orlando is currently one of the worst cities in the nation when it comes to finding an affordable place to live.

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In the past several months the Orlando Sentinel has been posting articles regarding the current and never-ending crisis of the lack of affordable housing in Orlando, Florida. However, the "City Beautiful" has never considered the low-income people that do most of the working and living here as they invite vacationers to move in and enjoy the sunshine and attractions. As they build pristine high-end neighborhoods like Celebration and Baldwin Park.

According to the recent report from the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, Orlando is currently one of the worst cities in the nation when it comes to finding an affordable place to live. They used government data to figure out how much money full-time worker must make to afford a rental that costs no more than 30% of their income. The report found for every 100 low-income renters who need an affordable place to live in the Orlando metro area, only thirteen homes or apartments are available.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Central Florida was short 115,000 needed affordable units in 2018. These people waiting for housing are living in poverty as the builders ignore the need and target upscale housing and apartment communities. This has a domino effect, as people who can afford a home in the $200,000 to $300,000 range wait for an available house they take space in an apartment that causing the availability shortage even tighter.

However, in 1992, the Florida Legislature created a housing trust fund called the William E. Sadowski Act. This fund receives revenue in two ways, first by a statewide stamp tax on the transfer of deeds, by ten cents for every $100. Then in 1995, they added an additional ten cents for existing documentary stamp tax from the general revenue.

This Act funds various housing programs, the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) receives 66% of the revenue, and the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program receives 20%. SHIP provides funds to local governments to partner with developers for the renovation of existing housing as well as assist in down payments and closing costs. SAIL provides low-interest loans to developers for construction or rehab of affordable housing.

During the housing boom, the Act received an abundance of revenue and was capped at $243M. To make matters worse, the Florida House is set their spending bill and at least a third of its budget will go to the ravage panhandle from Hurricane Michael. Along with pressure from HUD, the Orlando Housing Authority plans to demolish more than 1,000 aging public-housing units and move the residents into a voucher system, displacing families.

The six housing complexes are homes to thousands of families with children and the elderly. They will receive vouchers to use for voucher-based and private landlords and are eligible to move back into housing once it is rebuilt which leaves the already 15,000 households waiting even longer for their homes.

Theses aging units are in and around the Orlando city limits and easy access to public transportation. However, the current transit agency in the Orlando area is Lynx (Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority). The average service wait for a Lynx bus is 60 minutes or more. The lines run from inner-cities to airports, hospitals, college campuses, and Disney. Many of the lines are unreliable as well as unpredictable.

As there is no concern for where these displaced families and elderly might find another place to live, somehow, they also will have to find a better way to get to their jobs, doctor appointments, and downtown to the government offices to apply for assistance. As a resident living in the outer limits of the city beautiful only means you will never see a Lynx bus in a convenient place for use. The cost of a single ride on Lynx is $2.00, with one free single transfer. The average bus ride from one destination to another requires three or more transfers.

How can a single mother with three children find affordable housing in Orange, Seminole, or Osceola Counties and work at one of the big amusement parks and live above the poverty line? How does a senior citizen on a fixed income move and keep within his budget? These are questions for your local legislator. Here is a link to help you find your House and Senate member. New rules should be made to address the builders lack of interest in low-income housing. Why are they allowed to penalize the working class for their financial problems?

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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I'm 20 Years Old And Still Love Dying Easter Eggs

Who doesn't love this historic tradition?

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Easter has always been an important holiday in my household. It holds both the religious and family aspects. However, there is one tradition that I still hold very close to my heart.

My favorite part about Easter is getting to paint the eggs. Not an Easter has passed that my family hasn't partaken in it. I look forward to it each year, and it wouldn't be Easter without them.

Every year the designs become more and more intricate. The weeks leading up to Easter, I look up different designs on Pinterest in preparation for the "big day". Nothing can make me more excited about this holiday.

Now, that I'm away at college, we have to plan when these traditions will take place. It becomes hard trying to fit in a week's worth of stuff over one weekend, but this will not be missed.

Fitting an entire Easter dinner the night before Easter and dying eggs all in the same day, but it will be done. I love getting to become creative on such a silly thing.

In all the years I've been dying the eggs, I don't think I've ever actually eaten the egg after I've been too afraid to crack into the beautifully decorated egg. Also, hard-boiled eggs are not exactly appetizing to me either.

As I'm getting older, it's even more important that I carry on these traditions. Something so small as dying eggs holds a lot of meaning, and I enjoy having time put aside each year to spend it with my parents.

Going from a little kid who loved to drop the eggs in multiple color dye and drawing crazy pictures, to being in college and still wanting to continue on the tradition.

So yes, I'm 20 and still enjoy partaking in a little kid activity. Through my eyes though, it's so much more. It's carrying on a tradition and getting to spend time with my parents. I couldn't ask for anything better this Easter season.

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