Rising Rent Becomes a Challenge for Outreach Agencies Looking for Permanent Housing

September 3, 2022

Spectrum News caught up with officials at Tampa Crossroads to see how they’re handling the challenges of finding permanent housing.

CLICK HERE to see the video with the full story.

Getting back on your feet and finding a place to live after experiencing homelessness is no easy task.

As rent continues to rise across the region, officials with outreach agencies say it’s becoming difficult to find stable and safe housing options for their clients.

Arthur Burrows is a U.S. Army veteran and lives in a shared home with several other veterans. “I’ve been living here about two years now,” he said.

Like Burrows, his roommates didn’t always have a home to go back to. “I was in a relationship where I was and my relationship kind of went south,” he said. “Anyway, I ended up being homeless up in Jacksonville.”

Burrows says he self-medicated and lived on the street for a time until he made his way south and found Tampa Crossroads. “It’s just a waiting list now and the way the market is as far as apartments and whatnot,” he said.

He said he’s happy in his shared home for now, but would love his own place. “That’s another reason I was homeless, because I couldn’t work due to the fact I had an accident and I’m blind on one side and I couldn’t seem to get on my feet until I had some help,” he said.

At Tampa Crossroads, he connected with Veteran Peer Support Specialist Terrence Morman.

Burrows was his first client. “Where he’s at now as opposed to where he was coming from, it’s pretty amazing,” Morman said. “Quite remarkable.”

Morman served in the military and said he knows what some of the difficulties can look like, but loves working to help veterans get off the street and into housing. “It’s been tough, especially over the last seven months,” he said.

Experts say most case managers are helping up to 25 veterans at any given time. “What we’re finding is, for a property manager or a landlord, there’s a cap on what the VA will pay for rent,” Morman said.

For example, he says what the VA allows for rent in a certain zip code might not add up to what a landlord could charge for rent in the market. “You’re not going to find a lot of places under $1,200,” Morman said. “However, the places that you do find that are under $1,200 are not the most desirable places, and our vets know that.”

Officials with Tampa Crossroads say they don’t force a veteran to live anywhere. Instead, the housing teams are working extra hard to find partners and landlords who are willing to help. “So while it can be a little bit longer for the vet, at the end of the day, as long as the vet is willing to work with us, we will get them housed,” Mormon said.

Burrows is now paying his own rent because Crossroads helped get his benefits in order. He might need to wait for his own place, but he said he’s glad to have a roof over his head and food on the table. “Never thought it would turn out like this,” he said. “Thank God, you know?”

If you have served in the U.S. military, you may still be able to receive supportive services even if you don’t qualify for VA health care. CLICK HERE for more information.

Skip to content