Miami-Dade affordable housing fund hasn't used a single dollar in 10 Years...

Miami Herald:
Ten years later, county’s affordable housing fund hasn’t spent a single dollar

A publicity photo from Dec. 4 shows Pasadena Homes executives turning over a $2.1 million check to Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan, third from left, for the county’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Although the fund has been in existence for 10 years, Pasadena’s contribution was its largest in history and accounts for more than a third of the fund’s $5.7 million balance. Miami-Dade County

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  • Over a decade, the fund has accumulated a relatively paltry $5.7 million.
  • But in early 2017, the administration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced there was only $387,000 left over for the housing fund.
  • Where did Gimenez put the money??

  • Where is the money going to be allocated.
  • More Updated soon!

How long does it take Miami-Dade County to put an affordable housing fund to work? Ten years, and counting. 
Created at the end of an overheated housing boom, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund launched in 2007 as a new source of public dollars to subsidize the building of low-rent apartments and houses and preserve existing ones. But it was another nine years before a board was appointed to oversee it, and the fund is still waiting for rules, procedures and an outside administrator to govern how money should be distributed. After a decade, the fund has accumulated a relatively paltry $5.7 million.
The fund’s modest, untapped coffers have been a source of consternation for the county commissioners who want credit for tackling Miami-Dade’s chronic gap between housing prices and local incomes. In 2016, the commission voted to reserve up to $10 million from any end-of-year budget surpluses and shift the money to the affordable housing fund. But in early 2017, the administration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced there was only $387,000 left over for the housing fund.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Commissioner Xavier Suarez, an advocate for the $10 million allocation proposal. “It hasn’t had any money. We couldn’t really build anything.” 
But despite a languid pace that has seen the fund remain dormant through a real estate bust and a second boom, there are signs of hope that have advocates predicting action in 2018. 
Shekeria Brown, vice board chair for Miami-Dade’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
After attracting little interest in nine years, a builder this fall took advantage of a revised county law offering developers the ability to expand projects in exchange for contributions to the housing fund. The $2.1 million check from Pasadena Homes accounts for nearly 40 cents of every dollar in the fund today.
More money appears to be on the way. In the last two years, commissioners adopted a series of rules set to divert streams of money into the fund. Those include 25 percent of proceeds from certain land sales by Miami-Dade, and more than $1 million from a pending settlement of unpaid fines from Uber drivers.
“Obviously, the challenge has been having sufficient funds to work with,” said Shekeria Brown, vice chair of the board that oversees the housing fund. The current balance is short of the $10 million that Brown said board members see as needed to start a sustainable loan fund for small-scale housing developers. 
“But it’s money,” she said. “It could be loaned. We think we could do something with it.” 
The housing fund is just a tiny part of Miami-Dade’s funding landscape for affordable housing. This year, the county plans to collect about $37 million in real estate taxes that are earmarked for low-interest loans to affordable-housing developers. The county administers another $240 million in federal housing funds, which pay for rent vouchers, development aid and other programs aimed at boosting housing options in Miami-Dade. 
But study after study of Miami’s prosperity gaps amplify the fact that existing programs haven’t turned around the community’s need for more housing within reach of working-class families. In April, Florida International University posted a paper showing Miami-Dade finishing fourth on the list of U.S. counties with the most renters paying at least 30 percent of their income toward housing. The same study named Miami-Dade the second least-affordable U.S. county for renters.

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