Mar 20, 2024 - News

Miami-Dade needs $1.5 billion to fund affordable housing projects, study finds

Illustration of a repeating pattern of houses made out of hundred dollar bills.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Miami-Dade County needs $1.5 billion to fund 101 projects and 13,691 affordable housing units that are already in the pipeline but lack the funding needed to move forward, according to a new report by Miami Homes for All.

Why it matters: Miami is facing a housing and affordability crisis, and the city has all the factors needed to see "another explosion in street homelessness," the nonprofit's executive director Annie Lord tells Axios. But the report offers a "feasible" first step to immediately move forward with the projects already in the county's pipeline.

  • Without the funds, the report suggests those projects will "face significant delays and could be abandoned for market rate deals."
  • While past studies have examined how much affordable housing is needed in Miami-Dade, this is the first to assess support for existing projects.

The big picture: Failing to address Miami's affordability and housing crisis also presents an economic risk to the city, given its reliance on the service industry and tourism.

  • Should the city overlook residents' ability to afford to live where they work, "there's nothing stopping some other community with a warm climate from emerging as a more favorite destination," Lord says.
  • Marvin Wilmoth, managing partner at Intersection Ventures and author of the report, said the projects will also create "tens of thousands of jobs."

Between the lines: Most of the jobs created in the next decade will be in low-wage industries, such as service industry jobs, home health aids and warehouse and delivery positions, the report found.

  • The county is short 90,181 affordable units for renter households earning below 80% of the Area Median Income, which is about $75,000 annually, the study found.

State of play: The report focused on projects already in the affordable housing pipeline, including those that have submitted applications to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation for funding but didn't receive any.

  • Wilmoth, former vice mayor of North Bay Village, says they focused on those projects because they've already gone through the due diligence process, including permitting and securing investors.

What they're saying: Obtaining the $1.5 billion funding would immediately set those projects in motion. But according to Lord, one of the more effective ways to fill the gap is through a government obligation bond.

  • Lord says she believes there's a way to do this without burdening taxpayers. "We haven't passed a bond in 20 years. But that's a public conversation."

What we're watching: The groups behind the report are expected to host a roundtable discussion with stakeholders and city officials.

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