Exorbitant rent prices and the lack of affordable housing are now the new normal for South Florida. Increasingly, residents are grappling with evictions, and that means families are looking for legal aid.
Single mom Katie Rister is now experiencing every renter’s worst nightmare—she’s being evicted from her home.
“It’s just really hard,” she said. “I’m in a bind and I don’t know where to turn.”
Paying rent was never an issue for Rister, until she had to take a medical leave of absence earlier this year.
“I had to take time off from work,” she said. “It’s like I work almost 90 hours a week between my two jobs just to support my kids. It’s hard.”
Now Rister is being priced out of her home, after being given an eviction notice for not paying last month’s rent of $1,300.
“I have 30 days to find somewhere to live and in today’s markets, it’s hard,” she said.
It’s a cycle we are seeing all over Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
“All it takes is one month, and the landlord has the right to evict you for just one month behind,” said Ann Marie.
The Legal Aid Society is sitting down with renters to provide help to prevent an eviction.
“They’re having an increase of rent, people are having a medical issue,” Marie said. “This is something I’ve already heard twice today and it’s something that so many people are having.
It’s a housing crisis and it doesn’t seem to have a resolution.
“I don’t see how that’s going to change unless something is done to manage a lot of these costs for people,” Marie said.
Continued rising costs now leaving renters uncertain for the future.
“You toss and turn, because if you can’t find anywhere to go, where do you take your kids?,” Rister said. “My job is to protect them and to support them and I feel like I’m letting them down, because what do you do?”
Renters who are facing eviction can visit legalaidpbc.org for assistance.