BEAM helps seniors impacted by housing shortage – Ponte Vedra Recorder

The local housing boom has not been good to everyone.

As the housing market soars at unprecedented levels, local seniors are being forced to leave their rental properties as new owners eye revitalization. Many of these seniors have lived in their rental properties for decades and have been blindsided in discovering that they must leave their homes with no affordable rental properties nearby.

“I received a call from one of our senior clients, Neil, stating that he was being kicked out of his home after 15 years of renting the property,” said Debbie Andalora, senior program case manager for the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM). “He was in fear that he would become homeless.”

At 69, Neil was forced to leave the Atlantic Beach apartment when the owner sold the property to an investor who had plans to complete major renovations.

When Neil connected with BEAM he had no idea what he was going to do. He was scared and anxious as he had no control over his situation. He did not have family members to turn to.

Andalora provided emotional support and was able to work with Neil to ­find a supportive community that ­fit his budget. BEAM helped him with his fi­rst month’s rent and covered the cost of movers who helped him gather his belongings and get him settled in his new home, a low-income senior facility.

“BEAM profoundly changed my life,” Neil said.

But Neil’s case was just the tip of the iceberg.

“Then, the calls started flooding in,” said Andalora, “Multiple clients were experiencing the same problem due to the housing market. We knew we had to step up and provide immediate one-on-one care to make sure these seniors had a safe place to go.”

Neil is one of ­five displaced low-income seniors that BEAM has recently helped due to the turnover of low-income rental property and scarcity of affordable housing for seniors at the beach and throughout Jacksonville.

BEAM started its Senior Case Management Program in 2018 and has helped more than 147 local seniors regain independence and self-sufficiency.

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