Miami-Dade’s affordable housing fund collects only $5.7M in a decade

Developers given zoning waivers in exchange for building "workforce" units

20941 San Simeon Way North Miami Beach (Credit: MiLa Apartments, Pixabay)
20941 San Simeon Way North Miami Beach (Credit: MiLa Apartments, Pixabay)

Solutions for Miami-Dade’s affordable housing crisis are coming, but in small increments.

In the decade since its creation, the county’s affordable housing fund has collected only about $5.7 million, according to the Miami Herald. The fund was meant to subsidize the building of low-rent apartments and houses while preserving existing ones.

In 2007, the year the fund was established, county commissioners also launched a voluntary program designed to encourage builders to create affordable housing units. Commissioners would give developers zoning waivers in exchange for them building “workforce” units, or housing for those who didn’t qualify for subsidies but still couldn’t afford to live comfortably in most areas.

In 2016, the proposed workforce family of four needed to earn between $43,000 and $99,000, according to a county analysis. Miami ranked as the least affordable metro area for renters in the U.S. last year, according to a recent report by Apartment List.

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Despite the slow monetary momentum, there are signs the fund may be put into action soon. In recent years, commissioners have adopted certain rules to channel more money into the fund, including 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.

Commissioners also revised a county law offering developers the ability to expand projects in exchange for contributions to the housing fund. Pasadena Homes, for instance, contributed $2.1 million this fall, qualifying the developer to build about 200 more units at its new Mila apartment complex outside North Miami Beach.

With more money in the fund, commissioners are in talks about adding an outside administrator to govern how money should be spent. The board must also put in place rules and guidelines as to how construction loans will be made from the fund. [Miami Herald] – Amanda Rabines