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  • Motel America

    Built mainly on tourism, the service industry and construction, florida was once an ideal choice for many americans who migrated to the sunshine state to find work and a chance at a better life. High unemployment coupled with one of the worst foreclosure rates in america has, in the end, pushed many families out onto the streets. With the affordable housing sector overburdened, they have, essentially had no place to go. They stay with their friends or a neighbor, in their cars, until their last resort becomes a motel room. One of the hardest hit areas in florida has been in the counties surrounding disney world. On one strip of highway just steps from the theme parks, it’s estimated that 500 families are living in motels. Originally built to support tourism, many of these motels have become home. It’s a precarious environment, in some cases rife with violence and prostitution. Children often sustain themselves with junk food with little privacy or places in which to study. As families in the orlando area have nowhere to go, motel balconies continue to fill up with a life’s worth of belongings, and places like the remington inn in northern orlando are redefined as home.

  • December 2012-Orlando, Florida: John Cruz takes a swim in the pool at the Remington motel where his family is temporarily staying. John, his mother, father, brother and sister are temporarily living in a motel room off of Highway 4 in Northern Orlando as they were evicted from their apartment when her parents car broke down and they were unable to get to work. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • November 28th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Soup cans line the shelves of Families in Transition, an organization funded by the department of education in Seminole County which helps families without a home get back on their feet and make sure their children stay in school throughout the process. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • November 30th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Connie Cruz brushes her hair while getting ready for a choir performance at her high school in Seminole County Florida. Connie, her mother, father and two brothers are temporarily living in a motel room off of Highway 4 in Northern Orlando as they were evicted from their apartment when her parents car broke down and they were unable to get to work. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 6th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Abandoned businesses and houses like this one line Route 17 in Orlando, just miles away from Disney World. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 8th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: The exterior of a motel room at the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Juan Cruz, a diabetic who has recently suffered from a foot infection, cleans out his IV in the hotel room he shares with his family. The couple who are currently living in a motel room at the Remington motel with their 3 kids, met while they were both working at Disney World. Juan worked night security and Janet was a janitor. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • November 30th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: The exterior of a motel room at the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Jake Cruz's ROTC shoes lay on the bed he shares with his brother in a motel room at the Remington motel where his family is temporarily staying. John, his mother, father, brother and sister are temporarily living in a motel room off of Highway 4 in Northern Orlando as they were evicted from their apartment when her parents car broke down and they were unable to get to work. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: John Cruz practices the clarinet in his room at the Remington motel where his family is temporarily staying. John, his mother, father, brother and sister are temporarily living in a motel room off of Highway 4 in Northern Orlando as they were evicted from their apartment when her parents car broke down and they were unable to get to work. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Jake Cruz's ROTC suit hangs in the closet he shares with his brother in a motel room at the Remington motel where his family is temporarily staying. John, his mother, father, brother and sister are temporarily living in a motel room off of Highway 4 in Northern Orlando as they were evicted from their apartment when her parents car broke down and they were unable to get to work. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 4th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: A motel room door at the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Preziyana Presy, 8 sits in the motel room that she shares with her 4 brothers and sisters, mother and fatherin Northern Orlando. The family was rear ended by a bus, sending her father to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Because of poor health, her father was unable to work and the family quickly found themselves homeless and only with the help of a local organization, families in transition they have been able to stay in a motel until they get back on their feet. They have since moved into the Orlando Coalition for the homeless and Tyrone (the father) has sustained another brain surgery. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Tyrone Washington with his 3 month old daughter Ritcheousness just outside of the motel room that he is sharing with his family in Northern Orlando. The family was rear ended by a bus, sending Tyrone to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Because of poor health, he was unable to work and the family quickly found themselves homeless and only with the help of a local organization, families in transition they have been able to stay in a motel until they get back on their feet. They have since moved into the Orlando Coalition for the homeless and Tyrone has sustained another brain surgery. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 8th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: The exterior of a motel room at the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • November 30th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: The exterior of a motel room at the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Wisdom Washington, 4 in the motel room he shares with his sisters, brothers, mother and father in Northern Orlando. The family was rear ended by a bus, sending her father to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Because of poor health, her father was unable to work and the family quickly found themselves homeless and only with the help of a local organization, families in transition they have been able to stay in a motel until they get back on their feet. They have since moved into the Orlando Coalition for the homeless and Tyrone (the father) has sustained another brain surgery. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Preziyana Presy, 8 who cannot afford dance lessons, dances ballet in the motel room that she shares with her 4 brothers and sisters, mother and fatherin Northern Orlando. The family was rear ended by a bus, sending her father to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Because of poor health, her father was unable to work and the family quickly found themselves homeless and only with the help of a local organization, families in transition they have been able to stay in a motel until they get back on their feet. They have since moved into the Orlando Coalition for the homeless and Tyrone (the father) has sustained another brain surgery. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 6th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: A hot air balloon flies over a man made lake in Downtown Disney in Disney World. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 4th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Kiari Byrd, 9 plays with balloons at Anabelle Noguera's 6th birthday at the Remington motel off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. Kiari has been sharing a motel room with her mother, father, and brothers for 6 months sine the family fell on hard times. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 6th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Abandoned businesses and houses like this one line Route 17 in Orlando, just miles away from Disney World. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 1st, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Heaven Gary, 10 on the bed that she shares with her 4 brothers and sisters in the hotel room where they are all staying with their mother and father in Northern Orlando. The family was rear ended by a bus, sending her father to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Because of poor health, her father was unable to work and the family quickly found themselves homeless and only with the help of a local organization, families in transition they have been able to stay in a motel until they get back on their feet. They have since moved into the Orlando Coalition for the homeless and Tyrone (the father) has sustained another brain surgery. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 8th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: The exterior of a motel room at the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 8th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Landin Cutcher, 4 yrs old in the hotel room he shares with his , mother, 13 year old sister, and their father who is in and out of the hospital with severe juvenile diabetes. The family is currently sharing a room at the Suburban Inn in Altamonte Springs in Northern Orlando although they came short on a few days rent and had to take all of their belongings with them and stay in the nearby woods. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 6th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: The exterior of the Remington Inn off of Interstate 4 in Northern Orlando. The Remington has become a home for many homeless families in the area who cannot afford standard rental apartments. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen
  • December 8th, 2012-Orlando, Florida: Destiney Cutcher, 13 in the hotel room she shares with her 4 year old brother, mother and their father who is in and out of the hospital with severe juvenile diabetes. The family is currently sharing a room at the Suburban Inn in Altamonte Springs in Northern Orlando although they came short on a few days rent and had to take all of their belongings with them and stay in the nearby woods. The American Motel, once created to stimulate business travel and tourism across the country, have over the years become home to many who are unable to come up with high deposits to rent apartments or in more recent years have been evicted or foreclosed on in light of the ensuing economic recession. Florida is home to 1/3 of the country's homeless families, who often times find temporary refuge in the many motels which line strips, ironically such as those surrounding Disney World. These families are one step away from living on the streets, scraping together what they can to get a room or relying on generous charity from organizations or individuals, while they do whatever they can to get back on their feet. Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen