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From a stable job to a tent: A waiter's homeless struggle

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Lello suddenly found himself unemployed in Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The server showed up for a March shift, and his manager laid him off as the restaurant and much of the country shut down.

Soon Lello couldn't afford his apartment with roommates. He became homeless. He's not alone.

Advocates estimate 20 million Americans spend more than 30% of income on rent and are likely to experience homelessness. They predict numbers will rise during the pandemic.

Florida's been one of the slowest states to process unemployment claims. Lello said it took months to receive money, so he lived in a tent.

Now, he has hope - but it's cautious.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.