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Amid an affordable housing crisis, hundreds of Osceola County families call hotels home

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Hundreds of Central Florida Families have enough food to last them the following week after a Second Harvest mobile food distribution event targeting families living in hotels and motels along U.S. 192.

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For years, families have turned to extended stays along U.S. 192 in Kissimmee for shelter.

Housing experts said people often pay weekly hotel and motel fees because they don’t have enough cash saved up for first/last month’s rent which many landlords require from new tenants.

According to the Osceola County School District, 792 students lived in hotels and motels countywide as of Thursday.

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Laura Cordoba told Channel 9 she spent 8 months in an extended stay along U.S. 192.

Her husband has a full-time construction job, and she works several part-time jobs while also caring for a 1-year-old.

Still, Cordoba’s family of three paid $800 a week for a room until they could save up.

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The family recently moved into a townhome which costs $2,500 a month, split among several families.  The Cordoba’s bill comes to about $1,000 monthly.

“The needs of every family, like food, rent, services, bills, and everything else, have gone up a lot, but this kind of help blesses us,” said Cordoba.

The new mother was one of about 400 who received food to help supplement her family’s groceries during a Second Harvest food distribution event Thursday.

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U.S. Congressman Darren Soto also showed up to support the event. He spoke to Eyewitness News about food insecurity and regional housing challenges.

“We need to really boost up the number of units built. It’s a supply issue,” said Soto, “Over $200 billion was passed out of the house in the Build Back Better Act for affordable housing across the nation, that ultimately didn’t pass the Senate,” Soto said.

Soto told Channel 9 that one of his priorities in Congress is pushing for federal funding to support regional housing efforts.

“What we need is 2 to 3 million new apartments and homes across the nation, including 1000s here in Central Florida,” said Soto.

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