Miami Breaks Ground on $19m Housing Project





Since around the 1960s, under the “Great Society” initiatives, trillions upon trillions of dollars have been spent on tens of thousands of affordable housing projects, including everything from high-rise apartment buildings to residential homes in tranquil areas. By and large, the federal government is the biggest contributor to these sorts of projects undertaken, spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on affordable housing. Though with a lot more people coming into America than ever before, now standing at over 330-million registered citizens, not counting those who are unregistered, more people need affordable housing than ever.

Though it’s not always the federal government doing this job, as we see with the Housing Trust Group in Miami, Florida, who have just announced on Thursday, May 21, that they will be breaking ground on affordable housing in Miami’s Overtown community.

To date, not very much is known about this new initiative, as news has just been released. No one really knows precisely what it’s going to cost, or just how large the project will be. To date, all we know is that there will be apartments built, called the Father Marquess-Barry Apartments, in the Overtown area. Composite art released looks very elegant and modern, with large, open apartments featuring all the modern amenities, and beautiful landscaping. In total, the Housing Trust Group has a budget of $19 million for these apartments, which should be enough to construct a complex that can house hundreds of people for affordable rates of rent.

Florida is one of the states hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, and housing in the Miami area is desperately needed. Though the state has recently relaxed some of its lock-down measures, the fact is that thousands of people in the state are without housing entirely, and thousands more are overextending themselves mentally and physically just to be able to afford to pay their rents and mortgages every month.

According to the Miami Herald, Coconut Grove-based housing group the Housing Trust Group has actually come forward with a claim that they wish to offer housing for 1,000 residents. Now, the reason we cannot say for certain whether or not this is accurate is because we don’t know how they’re quantifying that estimate. Two per apartment, perhaps a family of four? It’s highly unlikely that they will be building 1,000 individual apartments, especially for $19 million, so that they’re assuming four or more people will live in each apartment is a much more realistic estimate.

There are already apartment complexes there, Gwen Cherry and Rainbow Village Apartments, with a total of 136 units. The issue, however, is that they have fallen into a state of disrepair. The Housing Trust Group hopes that within the year, they will be able to complete demolition on the 10-acre site and begin the process of rebuilding.

The Issues with Upkeep

Unfortunately, this is something we see far too often. For every new housing project a housing group or the federal government develops, they always seem to be tearing one down in its place to replace it. In a world where new complexes could just be put up without having to tear existing ones down, there would mathematically be enough housing for over 500-million people in America. That’s how many of these complexes are torn down and rebuilt every year in this nation. Thousands upon thousands have been demolished, only to be replaced, and then demolished and replaced again a decade later.

Critics say that’s because the idea of “low” or “mixed-income” apartments always give way to Section 8 residents, who pay no rent at all usually, or around $50 per month to live there, and thus they have no incentive to care for the property. Millions of people live in public housing, or low-rent housing in America, and the overwhelming majority of those places turn to trash within a decade, according to some critics. Opponents of these measures believe that government and advocacy groups creating low-income and free housing for people gives the implication that the residents don’t have to care for the units; it’s always someone else’s responsibility. So what we end up seeing are units that are trashed and need to be demolished.

This is unfortunately a theme that just repeats itself, time and again, with no one really having an answer on how to reverse the trend. Beyond making it conditional that residents must perform their own upkeep to live in these places, the best housing groups and governments can do is cross their fingers and hope that next time they’ll get it right.




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