Rising rent prices forcing Jacksonville-area residents out of their homes

Shelters across U.S. report surge in people looking for help

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The cost of rent is forcing some people in our area out of their homes.

Shelters across the U.S. are reporting a surge in people looking for help, with wait lists doubling or tripling in recent months, according to a report from The New York Times.

Rising housing costs, combined with persistent inflation for basic necessities such as gas and food, have left more Americans newly homeless and millions more fearing they’ll soon lose their homes.

It’s a cycle some people are taking harder than others.

Related: Add rent to the rising costs bedeviling small businesses | ‘Affordability crisis’ forcing more Jacksonville-area residents out of rental homes

Terra Jetton, a Jacksonville resident, told News4JAX her life turned upside down a few months ago.

“What’s it been like the last few months trying to find a place to stay?” News4JAX asked.

“Oh, it’s horrible,” Jetton said. “You are either on the street, or motel because you can’t afford rent prices.”

Jetton said she ran out of options when her rent went up and had nowhere else to go.

“I’m on social security with pay, so I do have some savings,” she said. “I thought I was going to have enough to move into a place, but I don’t think I am. It’s too high and I can’t save enough money every month.”

She said she’s been to shelters in the area, but after a while gave up because she said they’ve been booked and have long waiting lists. Jetton isn’t alone. According to the latest U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, 8.8 million people were behind on their rent payments from April 27 to May 9, 2022.

We asked News4JAX Insiders to weigh in on Friday with this question: Are rising rent prices forcing you out of your home? Are you fearing homelessness or having to reconsider where you live?

One Insider said: “Yes! People who are on SSI income -- it’s difficult to survive with prices rising. How can we pay for home supplies needed? And food out of pocket when food stamp done use. Gas price goes up. Barely live in due of limits income and can’t work.”

Another said: “My rent is going up by $76.00 come Sept 1st. I won’t be able to afford it. Been living here for over 10 years now I am looking for either a roommate or a shelter.”

Rising rent: Local woman says rent increased by hundreds from when she moved in 3 years ago

News4JAX called a few shelters around Jacksonville on Friday – some of them were booked.

Changing Homelessness, a group that coordinates housing services for the homeless, said the amount of time it takes from enrolling to getting a lease has more than doubled -- which shows how tight the housing market is. Other shelters in our area are experiencing this as well.

Changing homelessness also mentioned how before COVID-19, they were a decade into an affordable housing crisis. Then COVID-19 happened and made things much worse. So they can only hope for some relief as well.

Economists said there is a severe shortage of affordable housing and that rent accounts for one-third of the consumer price index – so the biggest part of inflation is housing.

Groups like the National Alliance to End Homeless say programs like Emergency Rental Assistance become permanent.

Have you experienced this? Let us know below.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad