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The Wrap: Securing Section 8 housing vouchers

"The Wrap" brings you Central Florida headlines, deep reporting dives, and insightful conversations from 90.7 WMFE news. From the state legislative session to the need for housing assistance, here's what happened this week.

Securing housing assistance

Carolyn Karsk poses while standing in the kitchen of her new home. During her housewarming party on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, her partner grilled hotdogs, burgers, chicken, and ribs outdoors, while she cooked rice, baked beans, collard greens, baked mac n cheese, and a seafood salad. She got her new home with the help of Section 8 emergency housing vouchers.
Lillian Hernández Caraballo
/
WMFE
Carolyn Karsk poses while standing in the kitchen of her new home. During her housewarming party on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, her partner grilled hotdogs, burgers, chicken, and ribs outdoors, while she cooked rice, baked beans, collard greens, baked mac n cheese, and a seafood salad. She got her new home with the help of Section 8 emergency housing vouchers.

The need for housing assistance is on the rise. The Orlando Housing Authority director Vivian Bryantsaid high rent, low wages, and a lack of federal funding are exacerbating the problem.

“Folks look at us, and they think the housing authority’s not doing a good job. We're doing the best we can with the resources that we have,” she said.

WMFE's Lillian Hernández Caraballo chronicles one family's efforts to secure a housing voucher and explores why they are so hard to come by.


Disney lawsuit against Governor thrown out, company appeals

Photo: Disney Parks Blog
Disney Parks Blog
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Disney has appealed a federal judge’s decision to throw out its lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis.

WMFE's Danielle Prieur reports in the appeal, the company says the judge’s actions set a dangerous precedent for other plaintiffs fighting DeSantis’ policies in the state.

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor ruled that Disney did not provide enough evidence to prove DeSantis had retaliated against the company when it publicly opposed the Parental Rights in Education law, or what critics call the Don’t Say Gay, which was backed by the Republican legislature in 2022. The law bans most instruction around gender identity and sexuality in the state’s K-12 schools.

DeSantis and the legislature replaced the Disney-led Reedy Creek Improvement District with its own Central Florida Tourism Oversight District months later.


DeSantis casts doubt on proposed social media ban

On Monday, the Florida Senate is set to take up a bill that, in part, in part, would require social-media platforms to bar minors under 16 from creating social-media accounts.

A priority for House Speaker Paul Renner, a similar bill passed the House last week. But Governor Ron DeSantis raised legal concerns about the “breadth” of the bill.

"I am sympathetic, as a parent, to what is going on with our youth," DeSantis said. "But I also understand that to just say that someone who is 15 just cannot have it no matter what, even if the parent consents, that may create some legal issues."

WFSU's Adrian Andrews reports several tech companies have also pushed back on the legislation, calling it “unconstitutional” and an unfair and unnecessary shot at kids' creativity. The Governor has vowed to work with House and Senate leaders to fix the bill before any court can stop it in its tracks.


Olympic trials bring road closures, economic opportunity to Orlando

Orlando is hosting its first Olympic trials Saturday. During the race, several roadways and exits off State Road 408 and roadways through downtown will shut down. City officials divided the city into ten zones at three levels of closures based on resident and business impact.

Speaking with WMFE's Talia Blake, Visit Orlando President and CEO Cassandra said the trials will bring an estimated $15 million into the local economy — but the impact will be more than just financial.

"Additionally, the exposure. This is going to be televised, there's been a lot of media attention. And so that also has an impact of increasing our visibility to the rest of the world."

Along with the Olympic Trials, Orlando is set to host the NFL’s Pro Bowl on Sunday. Event organizers say there will be road closures around Camping World Stadium starting Saturday morning. Nerdy convention MegaCon takes over the Orange County Convention Center through Sunday, bringing even more traffic to the region.

Brendan Byrne is WMFE's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the WMFE newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing WMFE's internship program.<br/><br/>Byrne also hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration.