How Orlando City player Tesho Akindele is working to fix and support housing issues in Orlando

Tesho Akindele is known for scoring goals when he's on the field playing for Orlando City. Away from the game, however, Akindele is passionate about city issues, such as Orlando's affordable housing crisis.

"This issue of housing, affordable housing, abundant housing, is really at the root of a lot of problems in our society, you know, so, in my opinion if we can kind of fix the housing issue, we can fix a lot of the other issue that are upstream of that," he told FOX 35.

Maybe that sounds more like an urban planner or an affordable housing advocate than a pro athlete. And that's fine with Akindele.

He understands that there will be people from the shut up-and-dribble crowd who don't want to hear his views, but he also knows that he has a big platform to try and spread awareness about issues that are important to him.

"This is something that a lot of very smart people, smarter than I am, are working on and like deep in the details on, but sometimes they don't have the platform, you know, so I'm trying to use my platform, whatever I have to kind of uplift them, and get their talking points to maybe a broader or a different audience," he said.


You do not have to look far to see Tesho talking about housing. His social media accounts are filled with posts on the issue. He's also actively involved with Austin Valle, a local advocate, and the YIMBY movement, an acronym for "Yes in my back yard," and a counter to NIMBY, or Not In My Back Yard.

"It's funny, we have a lot of interest in Orlando YIMBY now from Orlando City fans. More and more people who respond to our posts, their Twitter profile pictures are them wearing purple shirts, and they're big soccer fans, and we've had them come out to some of our events. So it's pretty cool I think, the more that we tap into some of these other groups that we get more interest from people who might not otherwise be exposed to what we're talking about."

So, where do they want to see Central Florida's growth?

"End exclusionary zoning. In most neighborhoods in Orlando, it's illegal to build anything but a single-family house. So that kind of keeps housing prices high because if the only thing you can build on a lot is build a big house or a bigger house, it's gonna be expensive," said Akindele.

"But if instead you could build a duplex or a quadplex, you could get four families in the same amount of space. Give them all a good, safe affordable place to live," he said.

Valle agrees: "We talk about legalizing housing, and bringing density into our cities, it doesn't always have to look like downtown Manhattan, there's ways to do it that's more gentle density, and this is what we would love to see some more of in our cities."