Militant Journalism

South Florida: Capitalists worsen housing crisis during pandemic

The CDC moratorium on evictions and foreclosures is set to end on March 31, leaving millions of working-class people facing eviction and houselessness.

Florida tenants are amongst the highest at risk of eviction after years of Republican-controlled legislation stripping tenants of protections. South Florida in particular, with its poorly regulated real estate market, has faced decades of engineered growth through a housing bubble.

Despite previous moratoriums halting Court-Ordered evictions, such evictions continued to be served in Broward County as recently as November, 2020, with 21 removal orders served in April, spiking to 643 in October. In Miami-Dade County, 4,535 evictions were served in the last three months of 2020, mostly all due to non-payment. The federal and local governments choose to not cancel utility payments and provide continued services.

Some landlords have taken the opportunity to use eviction as retaliation. 

“I’m waiting to hear back from three other places but no one has responded yet. This building will not renew my lease and I have been here for years and always paid on time. I think it’s because I kept trying to get them to clean the mold. I’ve had to do it a couple of times myself, my daughter is getting sick.” said a tenant to Liberation News at Edison Terrace, an apartment complex located in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, FL. His family was facing eviction the next day, with his lease being up.

Local relief groups are facing a tidal wave of people seeking financial aid as the pandemic continues to decimate the South Florida area and thousands continue to face unemployment. 

The Miami Tenants Union hosts weekly Zoom legal aid workshops that regularly tops 50 attendants per session. The numbers are expected to grow exponentially as no substantial aid is being provided to the thousands in need. Nonetheless, the Miami Tenants Union continues to provide aid for the local community in the form of advice on handling landlord-tenant interactions, help in locating new homes to stay in, and referrals to cheap or free legal aid to assist tenants when it comes to landlord-tenant disputes. 

As Democrats and Republicans continue their political posturing – the people are left to starve.The miniscule $1,800.00 stimulus thus far provided to the people only provides a token relief and has failed to turn the tide for millions of families.  

Fighting for the cancellation of rents, expansion of tenants’ rights, and housing justice is the only option left for the residents of little Haiti and many other families across South Florida.

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