AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Problem: Miami-Dade County is in an affordable housing crisis.

Background: In November of 2014, PACT Justice Ministry members voted to address affordable housing after hearing stories during our Listening Process of families that lost their housing, families living in hotels and abandoned homes, and the difficulty working families and the elderly have in finding secure housing. Through our Research Process over the past few years we have learned:

●        For rent to be affordable, it cannot exceed 30% of the household income.

●        However, more than a quarter of a million families in Miami-Dade pay more than half of their income on rent each month.

●        Because rent is so unaffordable, working families have to choose between paying rent, paying bills, child-care, buying medicine, buying food, and other necessities.

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PACT Focus #1: Funding the County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF)

 

WHAT is it?

The County established the AHTF in 2007 to serve as a local, permanent, and renewable source of funding for affordable housing for people making up to 140% of the Area Median Income.

 

WHAT have we accomplished?

When PACT began to take notice of this fund back in 2014, the AHTF existed only on paper. Over the years, through our power as organized people, we’ve gotten the County to:                     1) Reactivate the Trust Fund with an establishing ordinance, 2) Appoint a board to oversee the Fund, 3) Ensure that 50% of the funds must go to people making 50% or less of the Area Median Income (around $34,000 for a family of 4) – the most needy in our community, 4) Allocate 25% of all revenues from County land sales to the Fund, and 5) Allocate 50% of all carryover from general revenue to the Fund.

WHAT is our goal?

For the Trust Fund to be fully funded with $10 million dollars from the County budget every year.

·      Since we started working on this in 2014, the money in the Fund has grown form $1 million to about $4 million dollars.

·      However, the Fund needs a more substantial and sustainable source of funding from the County if it is going to thrive.

 

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Focus #2: A County-Wide 5-Year Plan

 

WHAT is it?

·      An inter-municipal, Countywide 5-year plan to comprehensively address our affordable housing crisis.

 

WHY do we need it?

·      Between all of its sources of funding (federal, state, and local), the County’s Public Housing and Community Development budget equals $525 million dollars. And yet, so many people are still struggling to afford safe and decent housing.

·      There are six “entitlement” cities within Miami-Dade County - in addition to the County government itself - that receive federal funds for housing. These are: Hialeah, Homestead, City of Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, and North Miami. As of now, there is no comprehensive plan that unifies all of these governmental entities to address the affordable housing crisis.

 

WHAT have we accomplished?

·      At our annual Nehemiah Action Assembly this year (March 27th, 2017), we brought together 1400 people to press Mayor Gimenez to take leadership on this issue.

·      Because of our power in numbers, he agreed to bring the six entitlement cities and the County together by June 5th, 2017 to create a 5-year plan to address the affordable housing crisis by June 5th, 2018.

·      In May 2017, Mayor Gimenez brought officials from these cities together and placed the group under the leadership of Director Michael Liu, the County’s Director of Public Housing and Community Development.

·      This inter-municipal group is currently planning to host a Housing Practicum on January 31st, 2018 to tackle a few of our County’s greatest affordable housing challenges together.

·      PACT was invited and has already begun to participate in the planning of this Practicum.

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PACT Affordable Housing Workshops:

●        In an effort to keep our community informed on housing-related resources and policy-issues, PACT hosted two workshops in January 2017.

●        We brought together experts from Miami Beach, Homestead, Hialeah, and Miami-Dade County housing authorities as well as City of Miami housing programs, for-profit and not-for-profit housing developers, and community development corporations.

●        Through this exercise in collaboration, as well as hours of meetings and research, we learned a lot about the need for increased planning and accountability and cooperation between jurisdictions in the field of housing.

●        For example:

     ○        Between all of its sources of funding (federal, state, and local), the County’s Public  

     Housing and Community Development budget equals $525 million dollars. And yet, so

     many people are still struggling to afford safe and decent housing.

     ○        There are six “entitlement” cities within Miami-Dade County, in addition to the County

     government itself, that receive federal funds for housing. These are: Hialeah, Homestead,

     City of Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, and North Miami.

     ○        As of now, there is no comprehensive plan that unifies all of these governmental

     entities