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Disabled man faces eviction after rent doubled

Michael Bowen will be homeless on Monday if he can't find a place to move his things after his landlord doubled his rent.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Prices for the housing and rental market continue to soar across the First Coast, and really the entire state of Florida for that matter.  Some residents simply can't afford their home with the price hikes.

There are many apartments and houses being built in our area, but the increased construction can't keep up with the demand for housing, so prices rise even faster than the buildings.

In December Representative Carlos Smith was part of a group of lawmakers who wrote a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis asking for an emergency declaration on rent.  After sending that letter he told On Your Side's Robert Bradfield that "Floridians simply can't afford Florida."

That's exactly the case for Michael Bowen, who is a Jacksonville resident and is on disability.  He uses a wheelchair because his spine is fractured... on top of that, his rent is being doubled.

Bowen can't afford to pay the new price of his apartment, so he has to move out by Monday January 10th or else his landlord will file for eviction.

"I haven't any idea of what the future's going to hold for me," says Bowen.

Bowen's immediate future is an unstable world of moving boxes that are stacked up higher than the height of his wheelchair.  What makes his circumstances even more difficult is that he lives on the 2nd floor of an apartment building that doesn't have an elevator.  Bowen can use a walker, but struggles mightily to stand. 

"What I used to do, I would have no problem boxing everything up and moving on," says Bowen, "but because of my illness, my mind says yes, but my body says no, so I have to hold back."

Bowen received rental assistance through OurFL, but it's not enough with the new price of his apartment.  He's also received legal assistance through Jacksonville Legal Aid.

"People did help me and they are helping me, but Morgan Properties does not want to help me," says Bowen.

Morgan Properties owns Bowen's complex.  First Coast News reached out to Morgan Properties with a series of questions about Bowen's situation.  A spokesperson for the PR firm that represents Morgan Properties said "this is a personal financial situation and our policy is to not publicly discuss matters of this nature."  

But it's more than financial for Bowen.  This is his life and he needs to find a new home by Monday.

RELATED: Florida Democratic lawmakers urge Gov. DeSantis to declare emergency over affordable housing, rising rent

RELATED: Rent prices surge, is there a legal limit on increases?

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