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Helping Find Affordable House Amid Rent Crisis, Embrace of Celebration Helps

Updated: Nov 9, 2023


Hundreds of residents living in Kissimmee motels have been forced to move out this summer after the properties were sold to new owners, and now local groups are stepping up before the problem gets worse.

Changes have been happening and will continue to come for residents living along the U.S. 192 corridor in Kissimmee.

Dozens of motels there sit just around the corner from Walt Disney World. The community groups are preparing tenants ahead of more possible evictions.

A group of volunteers in Kissimmee spent Saturday packing meals and hygiene products.

Embrace of Celebration teamed up with One Stop Housing and the Coalition for the Homeless to help families who are taking it day by day.

"So there's not much money left after they pay the rent for the hotel," Bettina Grzeskowiak from Embrace of Celebration said. "Everything is just too expensive to just make ends meet."

"Seems like now more than ever, we're getting calls from families sleeping in their cars or sleeping in the parks," Angie Black from Coalition for the Homeless said.

While they handed out meals, they set up a table for residents living at the Weinan Hotel.

The residents were helped with signing up for affordable housing options.

Some of them were offered waived application fees and security deposits, along with the first month's rent covered.

"We have to be a step ahead and try to find solutions," Grzeskowiak said.

"I get worried about getting put out and where to go because a lot of the hotels on 192 are getting filled up," Weinan Hotel resident Tammy Elwess said. "Pray to God to help us get out of this mess in one way or another."

Another said she thought living at the hotel would be temporary, but now it's hard for her to get out.

"Every penny goes to paying for the room on either a daily or weekly basis," resident Regina Coleman said. "So I got two kids in a room that we got to struggle to pay for."

Osceola County Commissioners say the county is one of the fastest-growing counties in Florida. They say more evictions will likely continue because growth often means attracting investors.

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