Rent surge pushing some toward homelessness: "No different from a hurricane"

·2 min read

Tampa, Florida — Like any renter in Tampa, Kevida Gued knows it's a landlord's market. But the single mother of three's family needs an affordable three-bedroom fast, because their lease is ending Sunday.

Gued told CBS News she's looked at more than 50 places and reached out to more than 200 "all over Tampa Bay, all over the state of Florida." On average, Tampa's rents ballooned 22% in the last year.

Valerie Bannon's landlord in St. Petersburg hiked her rent by nearly 60% from $1,500 to $2,400 a month for a modest four-bedroom. Without options, the overnight auditor who is legally blind and earning under $20,000 a year moved her family into a hotel. A charity is paying the bill.

"It's no different from a hurricane or something disrupting your household and taking your home away and you being homeless and not having anywhere to go and not knowing what to do," Bannon told CBS News.

Fueling Tampa's rent increases are thousands of people relocating to the area during the pandemic, as well as rising interest rates that discourage buyers and few protections for tenants.  But it's not just Tampa — rents have been soaring throughout much of the U.S.

Tampa recently put $5 million toward rental assistance, which was used up in just two days.

Erika Belezerian, a public relations account executive, is considering moving. Her rent is set to jump $530.

"If I want to pay less, which is my goal, then I will need to move 30 to 40 minutes outside of this neighborhood," she told CBS News.

Gued is still looking, calling and emailing rental places, but everything is expensive.

"You can hear someone talking about it, but until you experience something firsthand, then it really doesn't fully resonate or hit you," she said.

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