The U.S. economy has outperformed expectations! Florida unemployment has dropped to 3.4%, and the stock market is humming along. Life is good?

Regardless of what you might think, many people are struggling to make ends meet. There are homeless in south Lake County and they do have jobs. The 2019 hourly minimum wage is $8.46/hour; that’s $338.40 /40-hour week; $17,596 /yearly.

In Florida, the average pay rate is $16 an hour/$33,280 per yearly income. The cost of owning or renting would take approximately 80% of the family’s gross income.  There isn’t much money left for food, clothing, health care and other necessities.

In Clermont, the average income is $56,000. A typical 2-bedroom apartment costs over $1,800 a month. It would take more than $70,000 annual household income to afford a 2-bedroom apartment!  There are very few affordable single-family homes being built: An average starter home cost $230,000.

The scarcity of affordable housing is the primary factor causing and perpetuating homelessness in Florida. At least 30 percent of homeless people who aren’t in shelters live in their vehicles. After losing a home, sometimes moving into the car seems like the only option. Being homeless can spiral into hopelessness. Working a full-time job and not making ends meet becomes overwhelming. Owning a home or renting an apartment turns into an unachievable dream.

Over 2,000 Lake County school-age children and their families are living with others because they cannot afford the current housing costs. In 2018, Lake County Public Schools identified over 2,395 homeless students, some living on their own and some with parent(s).

Many of Clermont’s workforce can’t afford to live in Clermont.

Lake County has Lake County is hosting a homelessness workshop during the Board of County Commission Meeting on Tuesday, June 25 at 1 pm or as soon thereafter, inside the Board Chambers, located on the second floor of the County Administration Building, 315 W. Main St., Tavares.

During the public workshop, staff and stakeholders will give a presentation on various issues, including homeless studies, continuum of care, and capital funding and develop an action plan to determine the next steps.

This workshop will provide residents and stakeholders with an opportunity to express their views concerning the results of recent homeless studies and any potential impacts on Lake County in the future. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and to offer input to staff and county commissioners.

To view the meeting live online, visit

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, or family status. Persons who require language translation or interpretive services, which are provided at no cost, or those requiring special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) may request assistance by contacting Fred Martin, Lake County Title VI/Nondiscrimination and ADA Coordinator, at 352-343-9653 or at least seven days prior to the meeting.