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More and more people are finding themselves living paycheck to paycheck in the greater Tampa Bay region. In some places, rent has doubled. The cost of everyday goods — like gas and groceries — keeps creeping up. All the while, wages lag behind and the affordable housing crisis looms. Amid cost-of-living increases, WUSF is focused on documenting how people are making ends meet.

Are housing costs hurting your monthly budget?

A "For Rent" sign is staked in the front yard of a yellow home managed by Calebro & Associates, LLC. After calling the number on the sign, Burke spoke with the legitimate owner and realtor, Bert Calebro.
Rogelio V. Solis
/
WUSF Public Media
A "For Rent" sign is staked in the front yard of a pale yellow home in Carrollwood.

After a year of record-high inflation and an influx of new residents, many people and families are finding their housing costs are eating up most of their monthly budgets.

In 2020, the United Way of Florida released data that showed 13 percent of Floridians fell below the federal threshold for poverty and another third of residents were right on the edge.

There is a vulnerable middle-ground in the greater Tampa Bay region that is becoming more and more common – people who may have jobs and a place to live but are struggling to afford everyday expenses.

Several factors are at play: rising rent, stagnant wages, inflation rates, food and housing costs, illegal evictions, job insecurity and an influx of people who moved to Florida amid the pandemic.

If you're having trouble making ends meet, WUSF wants to hear from you.

  • How are you struggling to pay your bills right now? 
  • What percentage of your monthly income do you spend on rent or your mortgage?
  • Have your fixed expenses gone up but your wages stayed the same? 

Fill out the form below to start a conversation with WUSF reporter/ Report for America corps member Gabriella Paul, who is focused on telling the stories of people living paycheck to paycheck in the greater Tampa Bay region.

I tell stories about living paycheck to paycheck for public radio at WUSF News. I’m also a corps member of Report For America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms.