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Elderly North Palm Beach woman fearing homelessness due to eviction

'I have no money to go anywhere and a family that kind of just disposed of me,' Roni Diener says
Roni Diener speaks with Contact 5 investigative reporter Jessica Bruno, June 14, 2022
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 18:09:59-04

NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. — With rent skyrocketing, the number of homeless seniors in our community is growing. Contact 5 spoke with one woman in North Palm Beach who is being evicted and has nowhere to go.  

"My family has left me. I have zero funds," 79-year-old Roni Diener told Contact 5. "Life can sure change real quick."

Diener's North Palm Beach apartment is all packed up.  

"I don't know where to go," she said.  

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Priced Out of Paradise

Roni Diener, North Palm Beach resident resident priced out of home
Roni Diener explains how an increase in her rent is forcing her to search for a new home.

Diener got her first eviction letter in April and a second one came last week.  

Her rent is now $1,500 after a $200 increase. Her savings are drained and her only income is a monthly $900 Social Security check, which isn't enough for one month's rent.  

"I have no money to go anywhere and a family that kind of just disposed of me," Diener said. "Getting old isn't easy."

Diener was once a small business owner. She showed Contact 5 old advertisements in several magazines from the 1980s featuring her clothing boutique in Fort Lauderdale.

"I worked all my life. The fact that nobody even cares if I'm dead or alive," Diener said.  

Roni Diener's home that she rents in North Palm Beach, June 14, 2022
Roni Diener faces eviction from her home in North Palm Beach, Florida.

With inflation at a 40-year-high and affordable housing nearly impossible to find in South Florida right now, many seniors are facing this same situation.  

"It doesn't discriminate among age or however long you've lived there. It really doesn't matter," Maura Plante, the founder and CEO of Living Hungry, said. "It's about the holy dollar and making their profits."

Diener told Contact 5 that she knows she's not alone because she's talked with other seniors who are in the same boat.  

"I asked this girl, 'How do you wind up living in your car?' And she said, 'I just lost everything,'" Diener said.  

Maura Plante, founder and CEO of Living Hungry
Maura Plante discusses how the housing crisis is impacting South Florida residents among every age group.

Diener's landlord has already let her stay for a while without paying her rent, and she said she's grateful for that.  

Now, she's trying to figure out what to do next. 

"It's like the elderly have become disposable," Diener said.  

Contact 5 spoke with Diener’s landlord over the phone. He didn't want to share any information about the situation, but he said he's been trying to help her.