The damage brought by the current housing and mortgage crunch has made buying homes much harder for low and middle-income individuals and families today. With these condition pinning many families today, what has the government and the private sector done to alleviate the plight of those who can no longer afford to buy homes, or are in danger of being eased out of the homes they recently bought?
The Miami-Dade region is one of the hardest-hit areas in Florida, and each urban enclave in this county has also been hit hard by the housing slump. This article will review some of the housing assistance programs in the cities or towns in this area, and how effective their programs have been to help alleviate the housing woes of low and middle income families.
Housing Assistance Programs in Miami Beach
In the city of Miami Beach, the Miami Beach Community Development Corp. (MBCDC) is buying an apartment building built in 1924, and will renovate it to provide 34 rental units to income-eligible seniors. The plan, unveiled by the city of Miami Beach, is for the Villa Maria Apartment Building at 2800 Collins Ave, and with around $1.6 million in HOME project funds, the project is a partnership between the city and MBCDC to ensure affordable housing is available for people most in need.
This housing assistance program provides grants to fund the building, buying, and/or rehabilitating of affordable housing for rent or ownership. The grants may also provide direct rental assistance to low-income individuals. This project is part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in Miami Beach, and the current CDBG-funded projects include building Fire Station No. 4 to serve North Beach, renovating the Miami Beach Senior Center at 610 Espanola Way, constructing the Normandy Isle Park & Pool and purchasing a new Miami Beach community health center.
North Miami Housing Partnership Provides Valuable Assistance to Home Buyers
In the city of North Miami the area’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) recently signed an agreement with the Housing Partnership of North Miami, and is now processing applications for subsidies of up to $50,000 for North Miami residents who are interested in first time homebuyer assistance and purchase of units in Pioneer Gardens, and was made possible through North Miami CRA’s partnership with Biscayne Landings. Grants and subsidies are also available for single-family home rehabilitation programs as well.
How Miami’s Commissioner Thinks Of The Area’s Affordable Housing Crisis
Miami city commissioner Mark Sarnoff, thinks he has a plan to save Miami’s slumbering condo market and solve the city’s affordable housing shortage at the same time. However, the CEO of Carlisle Development Group, Matthew Greer, who heads one of the nation’s biggest affordable housing developers, disagrees with his plan. Sarnoff notes that the city should invest in cheap developer-distressed condos when discounts go desperate.
Like, for example, somewhere near the $175-per-square-foot mark. He says the best thing for government to do is just what any savvy shopper would, and that is to keep buying. The commissioner adds that if prices dip as low as $175 per square foot, government should purchase condo units and partially subsidize them for teachers, police officers and the like, as he says that a wide array of condo units are currently available in the $225 to $250 per square foot range, and he expects prices to drop in coming months.
However, Greer argues that the price-per-square-foot comparison doesn’t hold water: The Carlisle group’s affordable housing projects also includes extra support services, like a day-care center, or features like a YMCA center and landscaped parking lot. Greer adds that if the commissioner’s condo plan gains strength, it could take funding away from the rental projects that his firm specializes in, which will in effect transfer government assistance from the poor to the working middle class instead.
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