ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Affordable rental properties are not easy to find, especially in St. Johns County.
Jerel Williams works at St. Johns Housing Partnership in St. Augustine. He helps people find affordable rental properties.
"It's almost impossible to find anything under $1,000," Williams said.
He said an affordable 3 bedroom rental in St. Johns County is considered to be about $850 a month. But the reality is different. Williams noted, "$1,500-$1,600 is what a 3 bedroom might run."
It's now harder for people to find affordable rentals across the state because of hurricanes Matthew and Irma, according to St. Johns County Housing Partnership Executive Director Bill Lazar.
People who had their homes damaged by the storms are now "having to get their homes remodeled," Lazar said. "They cant live in there. They're out trying to rent a place and competing with folks just trying to always rent. The scarcity has been exacerbated."
Also after the storms, landlords have had to remodel what used to be affordable properties.
"And the landlords raise the rents on them," Lazar said.
According to the American Survey in 2015 -- before the storms -- St. Johns County already had a problem with affordable rentals. There was a lack of 4,363 affordable rental units.
Williams said the people calling him for help with affordable rentals are hardworking people with steady jobs.
"They are in the service industry, young teachers, first responders like firefighters and paramedics," Williams said.
Williams sometimes does more than help with real estate hunting. Sometimes he even tries to help people find extra jobs or more education.
"If someone's calling you and they're crying and you can't give them anything because they don't have anywhere else to go, what do you do? I can't say, 'sorry I can't help you.'"
And so he continues trying to find affordable rentals for people in a place where there's just not enough of them.
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