The price of paradise is so high that a couple from Bonita Springs are forced to live out of their car – a reality they have faced for five months.
Teri Santerfeit, Blu Skinner and their dog, Bubba Ray, lived just outside of Tallahassee.
“We came here because he was struggling to find work and he had a good job opportunity here,” Teri said.
Blu received a job offer at a hardware company. He works six days a week while Teri goes to school full time online. She had a job, but recently quit for medical reasons.
The biggest problem they have: finding a home.
“We were looking online, on different websites, we looked on the Facebook market. The cheapest I found was $1,800,” Teri explained.
According to rent.com. the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Bonita Springs is $2,283. Many places require people to earn two to three times the amount of rent. In this case, you would stand to win almost $55,000.
On top of that, many companies require potential tenants to pay first, last, and safe. That’s nearly $7,000 in upfront costs, if you can find a mid-priced rental unit.
“And no one has $7,000 just to hand out,” Teri said. “We are always looking and trying to find a place or even just find a cheap motorhome to buy.”
They say they have tried to find shelters, rental assistance programs and RV parks to stay. Some help, but right now they have to live in their little Kia.
“For food, we buy from Dollar Tree,” Teri said. “We use an Artic Air box to keep us cool and recharge it with a solar panel.”
They said they did not expect to be in this position. It’s something they try to adapt to every day.
Teri and Blu say what keeps them going is their dog, Bubba Ray, and a message Teri holds dear.
“One thing I always learned growing up with my great-grandmother is that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest warriors. So he prepares us for something better,” she said. explained. “There will always be a rainbow after the storm.”