ORLANDO, Fla. – The pandemic has left many out of work and struggling to pay rent and court filings for evictions continue to rise, records show.
Andrea Picarelli was in a similar position. The rent on the three-bedroom home in Orlando, that she shares with her mother, was about to go up by 20%.
The two live on disability benefits and their fixed income would not be enough to cover the increase.
“I guess the best way to put it is being priced out of your home,” Picarelli said. “I was like, ‘oh no, we’re going to end up homeless or starving and only allowed to have one meal a day.’”
Picarelli said she tried to find other housing but poor credit from a past relationship meant her options were limited.
“I looked around for other rentals that were low income but with my credit from a divorce nobody would take us,” Picarelli said.
That’s when she opened up to her property manager, Adrien Love.
“She said ‘I can’t afford the rent, it’s just me and my mom,’” Love said. “I said ‘okay, let me see what I can do for you.’”
Love oversees around 300 properties for ALICA Property Management. He used that flexibility to move her into another home with lower rent.
The two-bedroom, two-bath duplex is just right for Picarelli.
“It’s so nice to have a nice kitchen with plenty of counter space,” Picarelli said while giving a tour of her new place
“So I ended up in a way nicer home and a much nicer, quieter neighborhood for less money,” Picarelli said, adding that she owes it all to Love.
She nominated him for the News 6 Getting Results Award.
“He’s compassionate and even empathetic which is rare for a property manager,” Picarelli said. “Usually it’s ‘pay your rent or get out.’”
Love said this past year has been a challenge and he’s had to have similar conversations with many of his tenants.
“That’s been the theme for the year,” Love said. “We have reached out and made sure that our objective was to keep people’s roofs over their heads without them incurring all this back debt, so we have worked hard with everybody.”
Love said there are several nonprofits that have helped his tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19. The Orange County Cares Act, Homeless Services Network, United Way, Catholic Charities and the Center For Multicultural Wellness have all played a part in COVID-19 rental services for his clients.
Picarelli says she went from stressing every month to sleeping easier at night thanks to Love.
“He’s a good man and he has a heart of gold,” Picarelli said. “He didn’t have to help us but he chose to.”