Thanksgiving is upon us here in the greater Orlando area. And many of us will gather around the table with family and give thanks for what we have this year.
But for many struggling families, affordable housing won’t be one of them.
They’ll be celebrating the holidays in a hotel room, a shelter, or a car.
And the parents will put on a brave face for their kids. All the while asking how a community can pay them so little for hard work and then ask for almost all of it back in unfair rent costs.
They’ll wonder why hundreds of millions of dollars in rental assistance remains unused at the state level.
They’ll think about the inevitable notice of a rent increase from a greedy, out of state landlord that will ruin their Christmas.
They’ll ask themselves why some of their leaders are the first to give out turkeys on Thanksgiving, but the last to ask developers about affordable housing while greenlighting hundreds of other units that are overpriced.
Year after year, we talk about the need for affordable housing. And year after year, we do nothing.
What we can be thankful for is the possibility for change. For tenants and workers to perhaps stand up and say “enough” one day. And to demand accountability from bad landlords, greedy developers, and local officials that say one thing on housing but do the complete opposite.
No. Orlando families cannot be thankful for affordable housing this year.
But we can keep working. And keep fighting. And maybe reassess, and try again next Thanksgiving.