There are few things as bad as getting priced out of your hometown. Especially when your community is as terrific as Orlando.
But it’s happened to me. Twice. And I didn’t do anything wrong.
I grew up in the Lockhart community right on the border between Orange and Seminole County and just shy of Maitland.
Lockhart Middle School.
Played baseball at Northwest Little League.
Apopka High School.
Enlisted in the United States Army in Altamonte Springs.
Then I left the area fulfill the obligation that was the greatest honor of my life.
Started a blog. And then spent over a decade as a political analyst on TV and the radio, and built the best network of friends anyone could ask for.
But one month, I suddenly couldn’t afford to live in Orlando anymore.
And I tried my hardest. I sold the blog I loved. I tended bar. I was a mover. A security guard. You name it. I did it.
I fell and struggled. It was embarrassing. And I still can’t afford to live there anymore.
This is because Orlando real estate is more important than residents in the eyes of many of our leaders. Including many of the elected officials that represent the Lockhart community right now.
And if we’re being honest, it doesn’t look like I’m going to get to move back.
The reason? Greed. It’s really that simple.
Our leaders could do something. They choose not to.
So, now I’m drifting. I’ll still get to visit from time to time.
But its a painful reality. It’s almost like my hometown doesn’t even exist anymore.
It can make someone feel lost.
I’m healthy. I’m working. The people in my foster communities are kind.
But it’s not home. That has been taken away from me.
And I didn’t do a single thing wrong. One day, people I’ve never met decided I didn’t make enough money to live there anymore after three decades.
Its a faceless betrayal supported by the elected leaders that were supposed to help the people.
So, yeah. It feels pretty bad.