- Faith & Family
There’s nothing worse than being unable to provide for one’s family and put a roof over their heads. But that’s exactly what has been happening in the past several years in the midst of a recession that has hit Blacks and other ethnic groups with damaging and life-threatening results. Still, it’s not all doom and gloom for those who live in Miami-Dade County [M-DC] as collective efforts from public and private sources have resulted in a sizable increase in affordable housing.
According to Annette Molina, public information and intergovernmental relations officer for M-DC Public Housing and Community Development, their recent quarterly report shows that since 2005, $169.5 million in county, state and federal funding has contributed to 60 ongoing housing projects. The result has been the addition of 5,342 affordable housing units to the local market. The County’s website adds that affordable housing is for households with low to moderate income and families on government assistance programs like Section 8 vouchers.
“Housing is a fundamental need for everyone,” Craig Clay, deputy director and CFO for Miami-Dade Housing, said in a telephone interview. “Providing decent, safe and affordable housing is our mission.”
What makes housing affordable is the decrease in rent. It allows an income-eligible family to pay less for housing than it would at the regular rate. This is achieved through programs such as the Low-Income Tax Credit Program and the State Housing Initiative Program. Both programs provide subsidized financing to pick up the remainder of the monthly tab. The Department of Housing and Urban Development [DHUD] determines the high and low income of a specific area by analyzing a metropolitan area’s average median income [AMI], which for M-DC is $52,600. Generally, the monthly rent for low-income housing is derived by multiplying 30 percent by an annual income — a calculation formulated by DHUD. It is assumed by DHUD that another 30 percent of a household’s annual income should cover necessary living expenses such as insurance, groceries and gas.
Newest three buildings already full
Three new structures, among others, have been completed within the last year in the Liberty City and Brownsville areas as a result of the local affordable housing initiatives: Brownsville Transit Village [NW 29th Avenue and NW 53rd Street]; Dr. Barbara Carey-Shuler Manor [1400 NW 54th Street]; and M&M Maison II Apartments [1621 NW 60th Street]. Each was built with the goal of providing reasonable and decent housing to low-income families which might otherwise be unavailable to them. However, like other multi-family units, they have income restrictions and different objectives.
Carey-Shuler Manor has a two goals, “ . . . 50 percent of the units are for formerly homeless individuals and the other 50 percent are for low-income households,” said Julia Bennett, media spokesperson. “For formerly homeless individuals, the requirement is that they must have been homeless prior to moving into the apartments.”
M-DC Commissioner Audrey Edmonson has been at the forefront in bringing more affordable housing to District 3.
“One of the most important aspects of the American Dream is to own a home,” she said. “However, in this economic downturn and [given] the cost of homeownership, it is important to provide the elderly, working and middle class residents with opportunities to live in places that they can afford and which are safe. When I came into office, there was an outcry for affordable housing in District 3. [Today] there is more affordable housing that has been built in District 3 than anywhere else in the County over the last six years. The units are filled and most have a waiting list. When there are opportunities for government to play a role in the creation of housing, it is imperative that they are in areas of the greatest need and desired by the community in which they will be developed.”
By Marcus Parramore