Maxwell Alejandro Frost just landed a job with a $174,000 annual salary. But America’s first Generation Z Congressman still can’t find an apartment in Washington.
The Orlando Democrat tweeted he still can’t find a place to stay in America’s Capital City.
“Just applied to an apartment in D.C. where I told the guy that my credit was really bad,” Frost posted. “He said I’d be fine. Got denied, lost the apartment, and the application fee. This ain’t meant for people who don’t already have money.”
That Frost’s credit cards are maxed out shouldn’t be a complete surprise. The 25-year-old won a shocking victory in the Democratic Primary for Florida’s 10th Congressional District this fall, beating out long-time Democratic leaders for the open seat including a sitting state Senator and two former members of Congress.
But that required capital, and the young political activist now famously drove Uber by night and campaigned in the day. That rideshare money won’t be enough to pay all his bills and he also racked up plenty of personal debt.
“It isn’t magic that we won our very difficult race,” Frost wrote. “For that primary, I quit my full time job cause I knew that to win at 25 years old, I’d need to be a full time candidate. Seven days a week, 10-12 hours a day. It’s not sustainable or right but it’s what we had to do.
“As a candidate, you can’t give yourself a stipend or anything till the very end of your campaign. So most of the run, you have no money coming in unless you work a second job.”
He’s hardly the first upstart politician to have trouble with rent after he commutes to work. Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, after winning her seat in Congress in 2018, famously struggled in the Washington housing market as well.
There are other ways to cope with the situation, of course. Many members of Congress share housing together, a situation satirized nearly a decade ago in the Amazon Prime series Alpha House.
Still, other members have chosen to bunk in, whether because of problems with housing or as a public demonstration of their fiscal responsibility. U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, a Gainesville Republican elected to the House in 2020, relayed at a recent roundtable she does the same thing now.
“It’s a little bit like college,” Cammack said. “We’re moving right now and since I sleep in my office, my dorm has been completely packed up.”
When a new Democratic majority considered barring the practice in 2019, many bunked members protested and said it’s not just a political statement to keep a mattress in the office.
“I had an apartment for about the first nine months I was here, and the rent was more than my mortgage at home,” Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette in 2019. “That, economically, just doesn’t make much sense.”
And prices have only gone up in recent years. According to Rent Café, the average rent in Washington is now $2,335 per month, and the average apartment size is just 746 square feet.