Miami Rent is TOO High. 5 Ways We Can Fix it Right Now!

by Adrian Madriz, SMASH

Miami seems to be stuck in a nightmare of its own making. This repeated bad dream features all 2.7 million of Miami-Dade’s residents reliving the same news article, story, blog post and report about surviving in the country’s most unaffordable city–and we will keep reliving this same nightmarish day until we start taking the problem seriously. We need to mobilize our time, energy and resources towards a solution. 

In Florida’s 2019 Legislative Session, legislators directly attacked access to affordable housing. HB 7103 will make it harder for people like me and others to find an affordable place to live and raise our kids because now developers will have little incentive to create it.

Thankfully, the femmes of Miami are on the case. 72% of single-parent households in Miami are femme-led and they are leading them with wages that are 16% lower than men’s. Needless to say, they don’t have time for any more of the usual BS. Here are 10 proven solutions generated by local femmes of color, that we could start implementing right now:

  1. Community Land Trusts (CLTs): A non-profit in which the neighborhood elects the board and it owns land for the community’s benefit. CLTs can be used to create clinics, businesses and gardens, but most are used to create permanent affordable housing available for low-income buyers. A great way to use public land for public good.
  2. Rent Regulation: Government mandated price controls of the rent in certain areas to benefit low-income renters. This is the most effective and impactful policy for creating the most widespread affordable housing. Miami-Dade can pass a resolution asking the state to restore home-rule on this policy.
  3. Allocate at least $60 Million a year to Affordable Housing: We need 220,000 units of affordable housing by 2030 to meet demand, which has a price tag north of $75 Billion. We need to start putting in real money in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund so we can leverage that kind of capital, and it should be no LESS than $60 Million/yr. 
  4. Transit Oriented Development: Miami is the most expensive city in America when housing and transit costs are combined. Building closer to major public transit corridors minimizes the need for parking, thus increasing the amount of housing that can be built.
  5. Affordable Housing Innovation District: The cost to build housing in Florida is very high, starting at about $120 per sq ft on the low end, and the sky’s the limit from there. There are places in Asia and South America experimenting with 3D printing that can bring the cost down to as little as $4 per sq ft. Those technologies need to be prototyped and approved by the Florida Building Code before they can be domesticated. Having a district for construction experimentation would accelerate that process. And whatever is produced should be legally restricted for affordable housing use only.

We need housing desperately. It is no secret that we are in a housing crisis here in the state of Florida. This crisis is having an even greater impact on gentrified neighborhoods like Liberty City, Overtown, and Little Haiti, where big developments are forcing longtime residents to leave behind their homes.

Community control is key. Communities should be intimately involved in the discussion of any solution proposed for their neighborhood, and ideally, they should be leading that conversation, specifically the femmes. Because, it has been proven many times in many places, when you empower men, you only empower men. When you empower the femmes of the community, you are empowering entire families. 

If you are interested in learning more about these and other solutions, or if you would like to get involved in their implementation, please visit https://miamiforward.com/policy-platform/

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