The price of housing is out of control in the county. It doesn’t matter your socio-economic class or your education level. It’s just plain expensive to live here. It’s costly if you are a teacher or a college grad or a cop. It’s The Miami Herald reports on it all the time. They say that Miami is one of the least affordable cities for teachers. They say that Hialeah is the least affordable for renters with Miami coming in at #2. Businesses worry about a brain drain because young college educated workers can’t find a decent place to live. That mid-market housing crunch is causing gentrification that could price people out of their homes in Little Haiti and elsewhere.
Even though every housing expert recommends that families spend less than 30% of their income on housing, here in Miami-Dade we have 250,000 families that spend more than 50% of their income on housing.
Nicolas Nehamas chronicled lots of possible solutions to our housing crisis. From inclusive zoning to building smaller units to taxes on foreign buyers, there are plenty of solutions, but given the makeup of our County Commission, none are likely to be implemented any time soon. We saw that with the attempt to pass inclusive zoning recently. Many of these folks have been sitting on the dais a long time, in some cases decades. Many of these officials are the architects of this housing crisis. We don’t need a remodeling job. We need a new foundation. Some people look forward to their impending term limits to give us the opportunity to elect new leaders with the vision and skill to lead Miami towards affordable housing solutions. Until then we have to keep our fingers crossed that the officials we have will collaborate to fix a few things before 2022. That’s a long time from now.
I saw how acute the need is when I attended one of the community meetings hosted by People Acting for Community Together (PACT) where anyone and everyone who needed information about affordable housing resourcing could come face-to-face with the agencies who help with all levels of housing affordability – from homelessness to rent assistance to first-time homeownership. Hundreds of people came to those meetings. Hundreds of people don’t know where to turn. Their stories are real. Their need is real. The waiting lists are full. They are worried about where they will live. We can’t wait for term limits.
P.S. One of the most interesting thing about bringing all these organizations together in one place on one night is that they got to know each other! You heard that right. The people and groups working on affordable housing solutions do not all know each other. They thanked PACT for convening the group. I am thankful they came to share their collective knowledge and resources.
That night made one thing clear for me. We need a coordinated vision on housing for the county and we need it now.