MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Rescue Mission says they are expecting more families to call looking for shelter because of the cost of living in Miami.

“A large percentage of families, not only people but families are one paycheck away from being homeless,” said Alexis Chaviano, case manager at the Miami Rescue Mission.

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The Homeless Trust census shows that in January of 2022 there are 970 homeless people on the streets and 2,470 homeless people in shelters.

The Miami Rescue Mission says they’re seeing around 200 people a day come in to get their only hot meal of the day.

“What I’m seeing is it’s having more of a toll on women and children. A lot of those families are not necessarily homeless because of substance abuse or mental illness, it’s because of they don’t have enough income,” said reverend Oscar Cannon, the housing coordinator at the Miami Rescue mission.

Homelessness becoming a real issue in South Florida


 

Reverend Oscar Cannon said that he’s expecting an increase in calls looking for shelter for families because the housing market is so expensive.

So much so, that even Rescue Mission workers are struggling to pay rent.

“I can’t be paying 1,000 rent on a monthly basis,” said Chaviano.

Chaviano is a full-time employee and says if the Rescue Mission did not provide housing for him he would be homeless.

“Without a doubt, without a doubt. And I’m not talking about a $20,000 salary either,” said Chaviano.

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Chaviano said he’s recently seen more and more people showing up seeking shelter and food.

If you’re looking for help finding shelter or paying rent, you can contact the Homeless Trust and someone will be in contact with you if you qualify for assistance.

You can reach them at, (305) 375-1490.

Ron Book, the chairman of the Miami-Dade homeless trust says the housing market is a huge problem, even if they haven’t seen an uptick because of evictions and foreclosures.

“We have the most expensive and least affordable rental housing market in the United States. We are begging landlords and property managers to make rental properties available to our population,” said Book.

In 2022, there are 138 more sheltered homeless people than there was last year.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools said that 6,312 of their students and families are considered homeless, that’s 530 more students than last year.

“When we count student homelessness when we count Pre-k to 12 the reason that Miami Dade County and Miami Dade public schools has such a larger number than we use is the school system does recognize couch surfing and doubling, tripling up as being in a homeless state,” said Book.

Book says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development doesn’t recognize someone as homeless if they have a roof over their heads.

This means couch surfing and someone without a permanent address isn’t considered homeless.

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So, the actual number of people who don’t have a real home could be higher.

Trish Christakis