Florida: For vacationers and locals, paradise becomes a nightmare state

In Florida, the sea is currently warmer than whirlpools – the consequences are serious

At the beginning of the week, astonished meteorologists assumed that the thermometer was faulty. But then further measurements confirmed: South of Miami, the sea temperatures in Manatee Bay reached 37.8 degrees. Jacuzzis are no longer necessary here – in most hotels the water temperature is kept a little cooler at 37 degrees.

Since January, temperatures in Florida have been higher than ever before during this period. The persistent heat and extreme humidity in Florida are particularly difficult for the many homeless people. After California and New York, Florida has the third highest number of homeless people in the United States: 27,500 homeless people were counted here.

For many homeless people, the only cooling comes from the wind from passing vehicles under highway bridges. For more than a year, 71-year-old Ursula Brinson has been sleeping on the sidewalk in front of the Christian Service Center in Orlando. The help center is open during the day, but when it closes in the evening, there is no longer any protection for the wheelchair user from the heat, which hardly subsides at night. “There are no places to cool off,” she lamented in the New York Times. “Nobody lets me into a shop. They immediately say, ‘Get out, get out, you homeless people, we don’t want you here.'”

Insurance madness: People can no longer afford building protection

At the same time, the number of people without shelter is increasing. This year, the Sunshine State as a whole is projected to have a five percent increase in homeless people — and Orlando’s number is projected to rise by 38 percent. “Not the people have changed, but the housing market‘ said Martha Are, director of the Orlando Homeless Services. According to the real estate portal Zillow, rental prices have risen by 45 percent since the pandemic.

But house and apartment owners are also facing new problems: Insurance costs are also rising dramatically in Florida and are now three times as high as in the rest of the country. The reason: the increasing number of hurricanes that are getting stronger. Six insurance companies went bankrupt here last year – simply because policyholders could no longer afford the high premiums.

Now the well-known “Farmers Insurance” has also announced its withdrawal from Florida: Due to the increasing number of extreme weather conditions, business for the industry in Florida is simply no longer profitable.

The few household contents and building protection insurance policies that still exist have doubled their premiums in the past two years. For many homeowners, insurance premiums are now one of the top living expenses – often higher than mortgage payments.

“I panicked – everyone told me it was impossible to insure me now”

Ian Brown of Vero Beach, South Florida has experienced two hurricanes so far. “Fortunately we still had insurance in 2004 and 2005,” he told the Guardian. But then the insurance canceled him. Another insurance company charged 20 percent, then 40 percent more, until it announced bankruptcy in the middle of hurricane season last September.

“We lost all insurance coverage. I panicked and called every insurance agent I knew. Everyone told me it was impossible to get insurance now.” Eventually, Brown received an offer for $13,000 a year that he couldn’t afford. “At some point a representative called back with a new annual premium of $6,500.” None of his neighbors were insured against hurricanes anymore.

More and more Florida residents are therefore considering leaving the Sunshine State. Many accuse Gov. Ron DeSantis of ignoring the problem. The Republican repeatedly emphasizes “not to make the weather issue a political issue” and doubts a connection between Florida’s hurricanes and climate change.

Ron DeSantis is waging a culture war – Disney responds promptly

For this he continues his culture war against the “woke” Disneyworld. In response to Disney’s public criticism of DeSantis’ so-called “don’t say gay” law, which prohibits mentioning homosexuality before fourth grade in Florida’s elementary schools, the governor wanted to do so Disneygroup withdraw its decades-long special tax status. The “woke” Disney World should no longer enjoy special rights, demanded the Republican candidate for the presidential candidacy.

In May, Disney promptly announced the end of the construction of its planned multi-billion dollar campus with over 2,000 employees in Orlando. Instead, the project will be moved to California. The Star Wars Hotel, which opened in Orlando just two years ago, is also scheduled to close next September. The loss of Disney’s jobs is unlikely to help make Florida any more attractive anytime soon.

Jean Harris

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