Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Office of the Mayor
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 N.W. 1st Street, 29th Floor
Miami, Florida 33128
Board of County Commissioners
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 N.W. 1st Street, Suite 220
Miami, Florida 33128
RE: $10M for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
Dear Mayor Gimenez and Board of County Commissioners:
We need your leadership on addressing the continuum of housing needs in Miami Dade. Our community is suffering from a housing crisis where over half of households are paying more than 30% of their income on housing costs. This housing crisis is being felt by a significant sector of the community, from the homeless and extremely low-income, to the lower income households, all the way to the workforce and our young professionals who leave Miami because they cannot afford to live here. Local, state, and national headlines continue to proclaim that “Miami still rates as the most unaffordable city in the U.S.” and has become “prohibitively expensive for middle- and low-income renters.”
In response to the need and the Mayor’s recognition that increasing the resources for housing will require innovative solutions, our county leadership has taken laudable steps in adopting several appropriate policies to address this issue. In May 2016, the County Commission reaffirmed the County’s mission of “creating, maintaining, and preserving affordable housing,” and determined that additional funds were needed to accomplish that mission. The County Commission then voted in overwhelming support to either allocate 10% of any projected increase in general fund revenues or $10 million, whichever amount is lower, to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
However, because the Commission’s resolution is subject to annual appropriations, this new funding is at severe risk of not being allocated. It is a difficult task to balance complex and multi-faceted priorities. However, housing must be a top priority as it is the bedrock upon which healthy, vibrant and resilient communities are built. We also thank the Miami-Dade County Office of Management and Budget for offering an alternative solution to ensure an allocation for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund of up to $10M. This other option is based on using a different source of funding within the budget that is more reliable. We are pleased that there are now two ways we can fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Regardless of the mechanism that is used, we, representing various industries and sectors including real estate, business, banking, philanthropy, nonprofit, faith-based, the health sector and more, have come together to call on you, Mr. Mayor, to respond to our community’s call to set aside a portion of funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Mayor Gimenez, you stated at the Housing Summit held on May of 2015, that our government resources are not enough to address the problem and that government cannot do it alone. Indeed, we have been prepared to use the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to leverage private investment dollars to allow us to multiply and maximize any government contribution, but we need an initial, meaningful contribution to begin. One signatory organization, Miami Homes For All, has already made $1M of its own funds available to potentially contribute the fund.
We applaud the County Commissioners who were present in May that voted to pass this resolution to fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and now, we call on the Mayor to follow their leadership to respond to our crisis. We ask the County Commission to provide the leadership and oversight required to ensure that the necessary funding is placed into the budget through whatever mechanism is deemed most reliable and secure. We will continue to be present throughout the budget season to ensure our voices are heard on this issue.
Miami Homes For All
People Acting for Community Together (PACT)
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce – Housing Solutions Task Force
South Florida Community Development Coalition
Atlantic Pacific Communities
The Gatehouse Group
Community Justice Project
The Cornerstone Group
Carrfour Supportive Housing, Inc.
Florida Legal Services
Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami, Inc.
Urban League of Greater Miami; New Urban Development LLC
Trinity Empowerment Consortium, LLC
New Florida Majority
CC: Mr. Michael Liu, Department of Public Housing and Community Development
Ms. Jennifer Glazer-Moon, Office of Management and Budget