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10/7/02 - South Florida Community Development Coalition
City of Miami not implementing "homeownership zones"
despite assurances to federal HUD in its Consolidated Plan
By John Little
members of the Miami City Commission and others had urged that a "Housing Summit"
be convened to bring together representatives of local government and the private
sector (both nonprofit and for-profit) to strategize on how the creation of affordable
housing opportunities could more effectively be accomplished.
It now appears that the scheduling of the summit is being postponed. It is speculated
that a decision will not be made until a new permanent director has been appointed
to the City's Community Development Department.
In preparation for the eventual summit, it is instructive to review what the City
of Miami told Federal HUD in its most recent Five Year Consolidated Plan (1999-2004).
A cornerstone of the strategy outlined in the Plan was an innovative "Homeownership
Zone" concept. Three years into the Plan, however, only one of the proposed
seven Homeownership Zones is being implemented. Furthermore, the Model Cities Zone
has no representatives of nonprofit community development corporations (CDCs) on
its governing board (the Consolidated Plan stated that CDCs would participate).
The South Florida Community Development Coalition has urged that the City begin
implementation of the remaining six Homeownership Zones. The Coalition looks forward
to the upcoming summit as an opportunity to explore ways that CDCs and other private
sector participants can collaborate in the process.
The full text of the City's Consolidated Plan can be found at:
Below is a clipping from the Consolidated Plan. It is the portion that deals with
the City's proposed Housing strategy (including Homeownership Zones).
QUALITY HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY
HOUSING PROBLEMS OVERVIEW
The magnitude of the housing problem in the City of Miami is best illustrated by
the fact that approximately 75% of low-income families are now living in substandard
or overcrowded housing or are paying excessive amounts of their family income for
housing related costs. This shortage of housing has created an acute problem of
overcrowding, especially in the neighborhoods of Allapattah, Edison/Little River
and Little Havana, which has resulted in illegal conversions of single family homes
to rooming houses and illegal additions to existing housing units. Large concentrations
of public housing and multi-family rental apartments in the City's traditional target
areas of Allapattah, Little Havana, Model City and Overtown have also had a negative
impact on surrounding residential areas resulting in the gradual deterioration of
the existing housing inventory. This housing deterioration continues to be a major
problem due to the reluctance of landlords and property owners to invest!
in the maintenance of older residential properties and the inability of many older
residents to afford expensive and much needed repairs to their homes.
The continued influx of new immigrants from Cuba, Haiti and Central America has
only further exacerbated the challenges of overcrowding and housing deterioration
in Miami's residential neighborhoods. Overall, this has resulted in a housing stock,
which has become increasingly unavailable and unaffordable to the majority of the
City's very low, low and moderate-income households. The City of Miami has experienced
migration of its middle income families to more suitable and affordable housing
outside of the City's corporate limits. This has occurred at a time when the cost
of providing City services has also increased dramatically. Low and decreasing levels
of homeownership due to the out-migration of the middle class has contributed to
the ongoing erosion of stable and vital transitional neighborhoods.
While the City experienced the out-migration of its middle class, it also experienced
an increase in its need to address its special needs population. The City has become
a community with a much older population along with a significant number of homeless
persons who have serious substance abuse, mental and physical health issues. In
addition to the challenges of addressing the needs of its homeless, the City of
Miami and Miami-Dade County must also address the housing needs of its residents
affected by HIV/AIDS. At the end of 1998, the Miami-Dade Eligible Metropolitan Statistical
Area (EMSA) ranked fourth among metropolitan statistical areas in the United States
in cumulative AIDS cases. As of March 1999, there were 21,920 cumulative cases reported
in Miami-Dade County with 10,655 reported to be located in the City of Miami municipal
HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Based on the 1990 census, the City of Miami, with a population of approximately
358,000 residents was ranked as the nation's fourth poorest city with a poverty
rate of 31.2% and with the lowest median household income in the nation at $16,925.
Moreover, according to the 1990 census, the City also has about 144,500 units of
housing, of which two-thirds are rental units. In several of the City's distressed
neighborhoods, the homeownership rate is less than twenty percent (20%). It is clear
that with the level of housing deterioration and overcrowding existing in the City,
one of the most critical challenges facing the City is the need to create affordable
homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families in its low-income
The housing development strategy for the City of Miami seeks to promote and expand
the development of affordable homeownership through the implementation of new in-fill
housing initiatives in the City's distressed neighborhoods. Throughout the City,
there exists a vast amount of vacant and underutilized residential properties, which
have contributed to the slum and blighted conditions, as well as disinvestment in
the immediate neighborhoods. Not only have these vacant properties served as a depository
for trash, construction materials, and abandoned vehicles, but also in their present
state, have negatively impacted the quality of life of neighborhood residents. The
development of these vacant properties will be a major housing strategy to be undertaken
by the City through the establishment of seven (7) homeownership zones in the City
DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES - HOMEOWNERSHIP ZONES
One of the major components of the City's Five-Year Consolidated Plan will emphasize
a housing strategy which is designed to facilitate the creation of home ownership
opportunities for residents of the Community Revitalization Districts. Several of
Miami's neighborhoods will be provided special attention, with an emphasis on the
development of new in-fill housing on publicly owned parcels for purchase by area
The Home Ownership Zone Program will channel substantial financial resources into
targeted residential areas within the City of Miami. The goal of the program is
to create home ownership opportunities for very low, low and moderate-income families
in several of the City's economically distressed neighborhoods, combined with intensive
redevelopment and development of vacant residential parcels throughout the City.
Currently, these properties are eyesores to neighborhoods and serve as vehicles
for illegal dumping and, in their current state, generate very little revenue for
Specific goals for the Home Ownership Zones will focus on the development of 1000
new affordable homeownership housing units annually through the participation of
the private sector housing industry, not-for-profit community development corporations
(CDCs), Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida and private banking institutions
that have made financial commitments through the Empowerment Zone.
* DEVELOPMENT OF PUBLICLY-OWNED PARCELS IN THE ZONES
The initial development strategy of the City's In-fill Housing Initiative Program
will focus on the development of city and county-owned parcels in the City's Home
Presently, over one hundred city-owned residential vacant parcels are available
for development in the neighborhoods of Allapattah, Model City, Edison-Little River,
Overtown and Wynwood. These parcels should be declared surplus property by the Miami
City Commission, and made available to housing providers to develop new homeownership
housing. The subject parcels should be made available to both private sectors housing
developers and not-for-profit community development corporations at no cost. All
cost savings in the construction of the housing product attributed to the City's
land disposition policy for affordable housing should be passed on to the prospective
homebuyer. The coordinated disposition of City-owned parcels or the production of
home ownership housing by both private sector housing developers and not-for-profit
community development corporations, should occur immediately during the first year
of the Five-Year Consolidated Plan.
Secondly, during the first year of the Five-Year Consolidated Plan, the City will
aggressively pursue the acquisition and/or transfer of all Miami-Dade County-owned
and State of Florida-owned residential properties, for the purpose of developing
affordable housing on such properties. Although many of these publicly-owned parcels
of land currently have a "negative value" due to the excessive number
of outstanding tax, demolition, garbage collection, and real estate tax liens, the
City will aggressively work with each of the respective governmental entities to
mitigate all outstanding liens which preclude the private housing industry from
developing affordable housing in the City's inner city neighborhoods.
A special Citywide Task Force consisting of representatives from the Departments
of Community Development, Building and Zoning, Law, Finance, and the Office of Asset
Management, will be established to address many of the outstanding negative encumbrances
and liens which preclude the subject properties from having a clean and marketable
title. This must be an on-going process and strategy throughout the implementation
of the City's Five-Year Consolidated Plan.
In addition to the development of all publicly-owned properties located in the Home
Ownership Zones, the City will also aggressively encourage the development of privately
owned residential properties by the current owners. This strategy will be facilitated
with financial assistance available through the City's various federal, state and
local resources to the private sector housing industry and not-for-profit community
The development of scattered site housing units through the City's In-fill Housing
Initiatives Program will also be complemented through the development of larger
City-owned or privately-owned tracts, which include the Northwestern Estates, Civic
Center and the Bobby Maduro Stadium parcels. The development of the aforementioned
parcels provides an opportunity for the City to develop approximately 600-650 new
owner-occupied housing units in the neighborhoods of Allapattah and Model City in
the first year of the Five-Year Consolidated Plan.
SELECTED HOME OWNERSHIP ZONES
Through the Home Ownership Zone strategy, the City will channel substantial resources
targeted to the development of new affordable housing and the rehabilitation of
the existing residential housing stock in neighborhoods. The geographical areas
which will receive Home Ownership Zone designation are largely based on the low
and decreasing levels of homeownership and the level of household income which continues
to erode the stability and vitality of the neighborhood. In the selected neighborhoods,
the homeownership rate is less than 20% and the household income for families of
these same neighborhoods is less than 50% of the median income for Miami-Dade County.
In an effort to address the low rate of homeownership in several of the City's neighborhoods,
seven Home Ownership Zones will be included within each of the Community Revitalization
Districts, with a production goal of 1,000 new affordable homeownership housing
* ALLAPATTAH HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
In the Allapattah neighborhood, the City will establish two Home Ownership Zones.
One area will be bounded by NW 17th Avenue to the East, NW 20th Street to the South,
NW 27th Avenue to the West, and NW 36th Street to the North. The other will be bounded
by NW 20th Street to the North, NW 14th Avenue to the East, NW 17th Avenue to the
West, and NW 14th Street to the South.
The Allapattah neighborhood because of its central location in Miami-Dade County
and proximity to downtown, the airport and seaport, offers an opportunity for the
City to further promote its community and economic development strategy through
the development of affordable home ownership in the neighborhood. The area has a
strong employment base due to the location of the Civic Center complex, Jackson
Memorial Hospital and other commercial and industrial areas. The expansion of the
commercial and industrial areas in conjunction with the increased airport/seaport
activities and future growth of the Civic Center/Hospital Complex will only further
impact the need for affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income
In recent years, the development of the Melrose Townhomes Project and the Fern Isle
Gardens Townhomes Project in the Allapattah neighborhood provides an example of
the potential which exists when the public and private sectors work together to
provide affordable homeownership opportunities for those working poor families in
The Allapattah Home Ownership Zone offers the City a great opportunity to facilitate
the development of approximately 500 new affordable home ownership units in the
first two years of the Five-Year Consolidated Plan. Currently, there exists the
2.9 acre Civic Center site and the 12.6 acre Bobby Maduro Stadium site, two large
tracts of land which would allow for the construction of over 500 housing units
in the Allapattah neighborhood.
In addition, based on a survey of available residential parcels located in the Allapattah
neighborhood, approximately ten city-owned scattered parcels are available for the
development of new single family homes for purchase by very low, low and moderate-income
families. In order to meet the City's home ownership production goals over the next
five years, County-owned parcels would have to be acquired, along with additional
land acquisition activities by the City to meet the need for increased home ownership
opportunities in this neighborhood.
* MODEL CITY HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
The Model City Home Ownership Zone will be bounded by NW 71st Street to the North;
NW 54th Street to the South; East to I-95 and West to NW 17th Avenue.
This largest African-American community in the City has a number of housing-related
problems, including poor and substandard housing conditions. The housing problems
are exacerbated by unresponsive absentee landlords and the widespread pattern of
housing abandonment, which leads to the illicit re-use of these structures as crack
houses. Moreover, a pattern of neglectful, aggressive code enforcement by local
government has resulted in vacant and overgrown lots, and abandoned houses. It has
also contributed to the out-migration of middle class families to other areas of
Miami-Dade County and Broward County in search of a better quality of life.
Past and future redevelopment activities along the NW 7th Avenue corridor, in addition
to other major business corridors in the area for the expansion of economic development
opportunities for Black businesses, should be encouraged and nurtured.
The Model City Home Ownership Zone also offers the City a greater opportunity to
facilitate its goal of developing over 1,000 new affordable homeownership housing
units in the first two years of the Five-Year Consolidated Plan. Two large tracts
of land in the Zone will receive immediate attention through the City's efforts
working in partnership with Miami-Dade County, the private housing industry, not-for-profit
affordable housing developers, Fannie Mae, the Empowerment Zone Trust, and private
financial institutions. The Northwestern Estates site, a ten acre parcel of vacant
land currently under city ownership located between Northwest 7th and 10th Avenues,
will provide an opportunity to construct approximately 100-150 homeownership units
over the next two years.
The other geographical area where the City will be proactive in redeveloping and
developing affordable homeownership housing is the area located at Northwest 62nd
and 58th Streets between Northwest 12th and 17th Avenues. Currently, site acquisition
activities are underway by the City for the acquisition of six abandoned and vacant
multifamily apartment buildings located in the King Heights/Orchard Villas neighborhood
of Model City. Recently, the Housing Assistance Payment contract between U.S. HUD,
Miami-Dade County and Miami Ltd. was terminated, and the tenants relocated. It is
also the City's plan to acquire the Section 8 Multifamily Apartment Buildings, which
are currently under contact between U.S. HUD, the City and Miami Ltd. II, once the
Housing Assistance Payment contract expires in the near future.
Currently, there also exists a 2.9-acre city-owned parcel located at Northwest 7th
Avenue and 7th Court between Northwest 59th and 60th Streets. This parcel would
afford the City the opportunity to develop a mixed-use housing project, which would
be similar to the Latin Quarter Specialty Project, which combines both commercial
and housing on the same site.
There also exists in the City's inventory approximately twenty-five scattered in-fill-housing
sites, which could be developed in the first year of the plan. Additional County-owned
parcels will be also acquired to assist the City in aggressively meeting its goal
of 1,000 new affordable homeownership housing units to be developed annually over
the next five years.
As the private housing industry and not-for-profit affordable housing developers
construct new housing on all available publicly-owned parcels in the area, additional
land acquisition activities and funding for site acquisition will be made available
by the City to expedite the development of all available privately owned, underutilized,
vacant parcels in the zone.
In addition, the rehabilitation of the existing single family housing stock in the
Model City Home Ownership Zones will also be carried out by the City through the
Single Family Rehabilitation Program, along with increased Code Enforcement by the
Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET).
* EDISON/LITTLE RIVER HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
The Edison-Little River Home Ownership Zone will be bounded by NW 79th Street to
the North, NE 2nd Avenue to the East; I-95 to the West and NW 54th Street to the
Similar to other communities in Miami-Dade County that have served as havens for
immigrants from other communities, the neighborhood of Edison Little River/Little
Haiti has a diverse mixture of ethnicities. The largest group is the Haitian population.
The neighborhood is in a very good location with respect to proximity to Downtown,
and the airport and seaport, which are the locations of some of the major employers
in Miami-Dade County. There are a number of historic single family residences that
Like the Model City neighborhood, there exists a widespread pattern of housing abandonment
and unresponsive absentee landlords who have not maintained their properties. Housing
overcrowding and the lack of code enforcement are also major problems in this community.
For this community, the expansion of homeownership opportunities is vital to stabilization.
The low-income residents of this community require homebuyer counseling and education
during the process of qualifying for homeownership. In most instances, it is difficult
for many of the families to qualify for mortgages, and it is imperative that the
City, working with local financial institutions, structure a mortgage qualification
process that would enable prospective homebuyers to benefit from the homeownership
opportunities that will be available in the community over the next five years.
Presently, there are approximately eighteen city-owned parcels in the Little Haiti
neighborhood, which would be available for the development of new single family
homes for purchase by very low, low and moderate-income families in the first year.
Initially, the City's efforts will focus on the development of these city-owned
parcels while a process to secure county-owned parcels in the zone is underway.
Due to the lack of any large publicly owned parcels which could facilitate the development
of substantial housing units in the first year, ongoing land acquisition activities
will be undertaken by the City. In addition, as part of the City's strategy, both
site acquisition and/or project financing assistance will be made available to both
private developers and not-for-profit community development corporations for the
development of privately-owned parcels in the zone. Not-for-profit corporations
such as the Little Haiti Housing Association and Habitat for Humanity of Greater
Miami, Inc. will play a major role in assisting the City in expanding the availability
of homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families in the zone.
Expanded code enforcement activities and increases in single family rehabilitation
activities will also be a key element of the City's housing strategy for this community.
* WYNWOOD HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
The Wynwood Home Ownership Zone will be bounded to the North by NW 36th Street,
East by Miami Avenue, South by NW 29th Street, and West by I-95.
The Wynwood/Edgewater community, because of its central location and accessibility,
envisions a role as Miami's "midtown". The growth of the city core northward
will facilitate increased development opportunities and create new markets especially
in trade-related industries. Increased job and business opportunities for neighborhood
residents will occur due to the revitalization of the Garment Center, warehouse
and industrial space, the Foreign Trade Zone Project, the Performing Arts Center
and support businesses and development of the FEC tract.
The neighborhood has a high degree of rental housing, which has also deteriorated
due to absentee landlords' refusal to perform ongoing maintenance and repairs to
their properties. The lack of code enforcement and affordable housing is also a
major problem, which has contributed the neighborhood's decline. The housing strategy
for this community would focus on in-fill housing, the rehabilitation of the existing
housing stock and land acquisition for new affordable housing development.
Currently, there exist only three vacant City-owned residential parcels in the neighborhood,
which could be developed for homeownership housing. Due to the lack of available
housing sites, the City will work to identify all available county-owned parcels
to carry out its in-fill housing strategy. Ongoing land acquisition activities for
new housing development will be undertaken by the City to further implement the
strategy. Project financing will also be made available to private developers and
not-for-profit housing developers for the development of homeownership housing on
privately owned parcels in the neighborhood.
* LITTLE HAVANA HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
The Little Havana Home Ownership Zone will be bounded to the North by NW 7th Street,
SW 8th Street and SW 11th Street to the South, the Miami River and I-95 to the East,
and SW 17th and SW 22nd Avenues to the West. Due to the lack of substantial publicly
owned parcels in the zone, additional funding for land acquisition activities will
be required. The development of townhomes and high rise condominium units by the
private housing industry and community development corporations will be emphasized
in this zone.
The Little Havana neighborhood for many Hispanics, especially Cuban-Americans is
the heart of the Hispanic culture for the overall community. Although many Cuban
immigrants have become financially successful and have moved away, for Cuban-Americans
who were very young when they emigrated from Cuba, this neighborhood is the closest
thing to their home country. Moreover, as the younger Cuban-Americans have moved
out, the neighborhood has seen an influx of new Hispanics who are refugees from
Central and South America. The community has increasingly become a population of
Hispanic elderly who like to live in Little Havana because they can be self-sufficient
with easy access to goods and services provided to them by persons who speak in
their own language.
Although one of the strengths of the community is the high quality of new affordable
housing in the neighborhood sponsored by the East Little Havana Community Development
Corporation, there is still a great need to improve the overall living conditions
of many of the residents. The need for housing designed to accommodate extended
families or at least the ability to construct granny flats as extensions to existing
housing needs to be explored. Locating the elderly family members nearby is very
important to community residents. Additionally, special facilities to care for the
disabled and individuals with mental illness in the neighborhood does not exist,
and are deemed important to the area.
The presence of substandard housing, overcrowding, and the lack of aggressive code
enforcement has contributed to the decline which has been experienced in the neighborhood.
Moreover, one key factor is that many of the vacant parcels in the area, which could
be developed, have environmental hazards and/or contamination that are costly to
remove. This problem makes the cost of affordable housing development unreasonable,
and prevents the land from being developed, leaving it an eyesore and available
to be used as a dumping ground. The application of the Brownfields Redevelopment
Program will play a vital role in assisting the City in carrying out cleanup activity
and subsequent redevelopment of contaminated sites, which could be suitable for
The housing strategy in the Little Havana Home Ownership Zone will continue to emphasize
the development of affordable housing for purchase by low-income families. The participation
of both the private housing industry and not-for-profit housing providers such as
the East Little Havana Community Development Corporation will continue to play an
active role in assisting the City in meeting its housing production goal of 1,000
housing annually units over five years. At this time, due to the lack of the availability
of City-owned parcels, an aggressive effort will be undertaken to identify all available
County-owned parcels in the neighborhood suitable for the development of affordable
housing. Ongoing site acquisition activities will be undertaken by the City to secure
housing sites that would be suitable for the development of affordable housing.
The development of mixed-use housing projects such as the proposed Latin Quarter
Specialty Center, townhomes and high-rise condomini!
um projects by the private housing industry and community development corporations
will be emphasized due to the lack and high cost of housing sites in the Zone.
The housing strategy will also focus on the provision of incentives for middle-income
Young Cuban-Americans (YUCAs) to purchase older historic homes and renovate them
in order to move to the City. This would afford the City an opportunity to facilitate
the influx of middle class families into the City while generating more retail activities
in the neighborhood for the local small business community.
Expanded code enforcement activities and increased single family rehabilitation
activities will also be a key element of the City's housing strategy for this community.
* WEST COCONUT GROVE HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
The West Coconut Grove Home Ownership Zone will be bounded by Bird Road to the North,
MacDonald Street to the East, South by Grand Avenue, and Douglas Road to the West
The Coconut Grove target area, also known as "West Grove", is one of the
oldest neighborhoods in the City of Miami. It was established more than a century
ago and settled by people from the Bahamas. The residential area is comprised of
a combination of single family homes, duplexes and medium-density multifamily apartment
buildings. The West Grove also has a lower percentage of homeownership than the
City's average. Local businesses along the commercial strips on Grand Avenue and
Douglas Road serve the immediate neighborhood.
The age of the housing stock is a serious problem, and is deteriorating at a rapid
rate, especially in the Grand Avenue and South Grand Avenue area.
The age of the housing stock, particularly the older wood frame, single family houses
are deteriorating at a rapid pace, especially in the area south of Grand Avenue.
In the last ten years, like many of Miami's neighborhoods, the neighborhood has
experienced increased poverty, crime, abandoned and boarded up housing units and
middle class "flight". The neighborhood has also experienced a decrease
in homeownership and an increase in the number of renters.
The housing strategy for the West Coconut Grove Homeownership Zone will focus on
increasing affordable homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families
through the development of in-fill scattered site housing. This strategy will also
focus on providing affordable housing for the neighborhood's elderly and single
female headed households. Due to the lack of City-owned parcels currently available
in the zone, land acquisition activities for new housing development would have
to be undertaken by the City. Moreover, due to the lack of substantial privately
owned parcels in the neighborhood, the City will encourage and promote mixed commercial-residential
development, especially along Grand Avenue for a more efficient utilization of available
land in the area. Private developers will be encouraged to develop both middle-income
and mixed-income housing projects similar to the St. Hugh Oaks Village Condominiums
Project located at Douglas Road and Franklin Avenue, t!
o provide affordable homeownership opportunities to both low and middle-income families.
Increased single family rehabilitation activities and expanded code enforcement
activities will also be a key element of the City's housing strategy for this zone.
* OVERTOWN HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE
The Overtown Home Ownership Zone will be bounded by NW 22nd Terrace and 20th Street
to the North, the F.E.C. railroad tracks to the East, I-95, SR 836, and the Miami
River to the West, and NW 5th Street to the South.
The Overtown neighborhood, once a vibrant neighborhood and considered the Black
economic and social mecca of South Florida, has survived as a district area in spite
of past "urban renewal efforts" by government.
The community has experienced limited gain or benefit from various revitalization
activities undertaken since urban renewal and the construction of the Interstate
95 and Interstate 395/State Road 836. With the exception of the Southeast Overtown/Park
West Redevelopment Area, the Overtown Community remains in a deteriorated state
with substandard housing, abandoned and boarded-up buildings, minimal social services,
and a lack of local employment and economic development opportunities. One of the
most significant social problems of the Overtown neighborhood is the weakening family
structure. There are numerous single parent (mothers) households, disenfranchised
children, elderly lacking appropriate care, or suffering from abuse and isolation.
The community, once a viable and stable low to middle-income neighborhood, has experienced
the same fate as other City of Miami neighborhoods leaving the poor to live in government
subsidized public housing and privately owned slum and deteriorating multi-family
The Overtown community has a number of housing-related problems, which include low-income
families living in substandard or overcrowded housing. An excessive amount of the
families' incomes are utilized for housing-related costs. There is also an
abundance of unresponsive absentee landlords, and a widespread pattern of housing
abandonment, which has lead to the establishment of crack dens in the abandoned
structures. This area has also experienced a lack of aggressive code enforcement
by local government, is plagued with vacant and overgrown lots which has also encouraged
the out-migration of the "working poor" families to other areas of Miami-Dade
The City's housing strategy of the past, which included allocating millions
of dollars for the rehabilitation of privately-owned multi-family apartment buildings
throughout the neighborhood, has been a complete failure.
The high degree of housing deterioration and lack of homeownership, which is the
lowest in the City, has only further aided the erosion of the community.
The housing strategy for the Overtown Homeownership Zone will focus on the development
of over forty-six City-owned parcels, which have been identified in the community.
The City will also pursue the acquisition of County-owned housing parcels, which
are also located in the zone for the development of affordable housing. Moreover,
the City also plans to aggressively pursue and institute foreclosure action against
all delinquent owners of multifamily apartment buildings that have received low
interest multifamily rehabilitation loans from the City. Once acquired, certain
properties would be demolished and made available to developers for the development
of new affordable homeownership housing.
In addition to the development of all publicly owned properties located in the zone,
the City will also encourage and promote the development of privately owned residential
properties by the current owners. This strategy will be facilitated through the
provision of financial assistance to the private sector housing industry or not-for-profit
community development corporations from various federal, state and local resources.
Expanded code enforcement activities will be carried out by the Neighborhood Enhancement
Team (NET) and the Department of Fire Rescue. Limited single family rehabilitation
activities will be available to homeowners in the neighborhood.
HOME OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN THE EMPOWERMENT ZONE
The designation of Miami-Dade County by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development as a Federal Urban Empowerment Zone offers the City of Miami and Miami-Dade
County an unprecedented opportunity and obligation to transform its distressed communities,
and to connect residents with jobs and affordable housing opportunities while working
in concert with the private sector and business community. The City of Miami comprises
over seventy-four percent (74%) of the designated Miami-Dade Empowerment Zone that
includes parts of the Allapattah, Downtown, East Little Havana, Model City, Wynwood
and Overtown neighborhoods. Nearly $400 million in capital commitments for lending
and investment have been targeted within the Empowerment Zone by eighteen private
sector banking institutions for the first two years. It is projected that the total
investment over the ten-year life of the Empowerment Zone by the private sector
banking institutions will exceed $1 billion.
Miami-Dade County has committed $100 million of its funds to match the federal investment
that would come with the Empowerment Zone funding. This commitment would include
funding which would be available to assist the City in its efforts to provide affordable
housing opportunities to low and moderate-income families in the neighborhoods located
in the Empowerment Zone. In addition to Miami-Dade County, the Fannie Mae Foundation
through its Fannie House Miami-Dade has since 1994 made a five year $5 billion strategy
commitment for homeownership and rental housing production. A commitment of $260
million has been targeted by Fannie Mae for housing in the Zone.
In addition to its federal entitlement of $30 million, the City will also aggressively
pursue other federal, state and local resources to leverage sufficient housing dollars
which would assist the City in meeting the anticipated demand for affordable homeownership
units by working families that are gainfully employed and view Miami's neighborhoods
as being centrally located in close proximity to the workplace.
In order to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for all of its low and
moderate-income families and individuals, for housing projects which are being proposed
outside of the Empowerment Zone, the City will utilize its financial resources to
assist in the financing of such projects.
FINANCING SOURCES FOR HOME OWNERSHIP ZONE PROGRAM
In order to aggressively meet the City's housing production goal of 5,000
new homeownership units during the five year period of the Consolidated Plan, the
housing programs and funding sources that will be targeted by the City are identified
as reflected in the following chart. (See Pages 114 and 115)
Homebuyer Programs Available in Home Ownership Zone - In order to ensure that low
and moderate-income families will be able to achieve the "American Dream"
of owning their own home through the City's Home Ownership Zone Program, homebuyers
programs which would assist these families in becoming new homeowners must also
be available. Such programs would include the following:
Homebuyer Counseling Program - Homebuyer counseling is a vital component of any
homeownership program. Prospective homebuyers would receive counseling and training
in financial management, budgeting, mortgage financing, home maintenance and community
Down Payment/Closing Cost Assistance Program - Accumulating the required funds to
make a down payment on the purchase of a home is often an insurmountable barrier
for very low, low and moderate-income families. The City will continue to make down
payment/closing cost assistance available to very low, low and moderate-income families
through the State Housing Initiative Partnership Program and will provide funds
in the form of grants or deferred loans.
Lease-Purchase Program - Implementation of a Lease-Purchase Program in order to
eliminate one of the barriers to homeownership which may be experienced by potential
homebuyers purchasing a newly constructed owner-occupied residential unit developed
in the Home Ownership Zones is critical. The Lease-Purchase arrangement would afford
a prospective homebuyer with an opportunity to purchase a home while simultaneously
overcoming credit problems and/or the lack of insufficient funds required for down
payment and/or closing costs. The Lease-Purchase Program would enable the City to
qualify applicants who do not meet conventional mortgage lending criteria in order
to purchase a home by allowing the family to lease the property first while clearing
up their negative credit history prior to applying for a mortgage. The program would
also provide the City working with the private, not-for-profit housing industry
to insure the availability of potential homebuyers to consummate the purchase and/or
occupancy of the new housing units being planned in the seven Home Ownership Zones.
First-Time Homebuyer Financial Programs - With the production goal of 1,000 new
affordable homeownership housing units each year through the Home Ownership Zone
Program, this program will continue to be a critical financing vehicle for assisting
very low, low and moderate-income households into becoming homeowners. Presently,
this program is funded through the City's Home and Ship programs which are
designed to provide low-interest financing to first-time homebuyers in the form
of a first or second mortgage for the purchase of new single family homes which
are developed by private sector and not-for-profit community development corporations
in the City. Applicants must be homebuyers or households that have not owned a home
during the three year period prior to purchase with program funds.
HOUSING REVITALIZATION STRATEGY
While a major thrust of the Home Ownership Zone Program will focus on increasing
the availability of affordable homeownership opportunities to very low, low and
moderate-income families through public/private partnerships between the City, Miami-Dade
County, private and not-for-profit housing industry and private financial institutions,
housing deterioration continues to be a major problem due to the reluctance of private
landlords to invest in the maintenance of older structures, and the inability of
many older Miami residents to afford expensive home improvement repairs.
SINGLE FAMILY REHABILITATION PROGRAM
The major focus of the City's efforts over the next five years will emphasize
a long-term homeownership strategy for stabilizing the City's predominately
residential neighborhoods through the establishment of seven "Homeownership
Zones" in the City, the need to ensure that the City's existing housing
stock remains safe, decent, sanitary and affordable to both owner-occupants, the
elderly and renters, through various rehabilitation activities, remains equally
Currently, the City's CDBG funded Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Program
provides grants and/or low interest loans for the rehabilitation of single family
properties (1-4 units) citywide. The CDBG funded Multifamily Rehabilitation Loan
Program and HOME funded Multifamily Rehabilitation Program provide low interest
loans and grants respectively to owner-investors of multifamily rental apartments
(5 or more units) for the rehabilitation of such structures in the City's
eight Community Development Block Grant target areas.
Not only should the City's current home improvement programs continue to be
an important element of the City's overall Comprehensive Affordable Housing
Revitalization Strategy, but the mission should be to make the program more "user
friendly" relative to the elimination of bureaucratic red tape and less stringent
underwriting requirements, especially in the cases which involves the provision
of grant funds to the City's elderly population. Since a substantial number
of the single family homes in the City fall below minimum housing quality standards
(disrepair), and are owned by low and moderate-income homeowners who lack the financial
capacity and/or credit history required to obtain home repair financing from private
lenders, this program is a key element necessary to revitalize the City's
Due to the number of persons living below the poverty level and the number of overcrowded
and substandard housing units in the City, the Single Family Rehabilitation Program
will be modified in order to address the higher cost of rehabilitating owner-occupied
single family homes in the City, which are being experienced by the homeowners participating
in the program. The program will be redesigned to provide home improvement assistance
to homeowners throughout the City in the form of a grant to bring the property to
a decent, safe and sanitary housing standard, and to correct all existing code violations.
A maximum of up to $40,000 will be available to homeowner(s) that reside and maintain
the property as their principal residence.
Eligible homeowners will receive a ten year deferred payment loan that will be reduced
ten (10%) percent per year while the family continues to own and occupy the property.
If the property is rented or sold during the ten year period, the balance of the
loan must be paid back to the City of Miami. In the event of death of all eligible
homeowners, the heirs to the property can assume the obligation of the original
owner as long as the heirs remain owner-occupants of the property, and do not sell
or rent the property for the remaining period of the deferred payment loan.
EMERGENCY GRANT/LOAN HOME IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Due to the deteriorating conditions of Miami's existing single family housing
stock and deferred maintenance and repairs that have not been carried out by many
of the City's fixed-income elderly homeowners, it is critical that the City
establish an Emergency Grant/Loan HOME Improvement Program in order to address and
correct certain hazardous conditions which endanger the health and safety of the
occupants. The Emergency Grant/Loan HOME Improvement Program would allow the City
to provide an emergency grant and/or loan to an eligible homeowner for carrying
out limited emergency home repairs such as roofing, electrical, plumbing, etc. to
immediately rectify hazardous and potentially hazardous conditions which, if not
corrected, may endanger the health and safety of the occupants of the home. The
maximum assistance available under this program will be $10,000 per household. The
form of documentation required of the homeowner will be determined on a case by
case basis depending on the severity of the emergency. The City of Miami will utilize
the most accessible and most accurate documentation available that can help to establish
household income eligibility, and that at the same time will allow the City to provide
immediate financial assistance. This income documentation may be in the form of
income taxes, pay stubs, letters of award from the Social Security Administration,
or an affidavit or sworn statement from the family that they are income eligible.
Households who are eligible for assistance under this program and require more extensive
repairs will also be assisted under the City's Single Family Rehabilitation
Loan Program, in order to bring the home into full compliance with County's
Minimum Housing Quality Standards.
SINGLE FAMILY REPLACEMENT HOUSING PROGRAM
In addition to the implementation of an Emergency Grant/Loan HOME Improvement Program,
the City will also establish and implement a Single Family Replacement Housing Program.
This new program is designed to replace dilapidated owner-occupied housing units,
which are not suitable for rehabilitation. This program would only be available
to eligible homeowners who reside in homes where the most appropriate solution to
their housing problem would be to demolish the existing home and replace it with
a newly constructed house. This strategy would be employed on a case by case basis,
when the cost of rehabilitating the existing home exceeds the maximum amount of
$40,000 available under the City's Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Program.
The maximum cost of demolishing the dilapidated structure and construction of the
new home shall not exceed $65,000. An additional $3,000 per household would also
be available to the homeowner to defray the cost of temporary relocation during
the construction phase.
Assistance provided by the City of Miami to the homeowner will be provided in the
form of a zero (0%) percent deferred, due on sale loan(s), with the entire remaining
balance due and payable in full upon the sale, lease or transfer of title to the
property. The loan will be secured through a recorded second mortgage lien, which
will remain on the property as long as it is owned by the homeowner. The homeowner
is required to reside in the house throughout the loan term.
MULTIFAMILY REHABILITATION PROGRAM
Over the next five years, limited funding and focus will be placed on the rehabilitation
of multifamily apartment buildings in designated Home Ownership Zones. Although
limited funding is being recommended to carry out multi-family rehabilitation activities,
special attention and emphasis will focus on the expansion of the inventory of affordable
housing in the Downtown or Central Business District through the development of
new housing units and/or conversion of commercial/office buildings to housing reuse
for all income groups. Over the past five years, several affordable housing projects
have been completed by developers through the conversion of commercial/office buildings
to residential reuse for low and moderate-income families and individuals. Completion
of the Colon Building, Metropol Building, Olympia Building and the Congress Building
in the Downtown target area is a prime example of the pent-up demand for affordable
housing in the area. Over the next five years, the City will encourage property
owners and investors to develop mixed-use projects containing various urban housing
types that would emphasize and promote a livable downtown for persons of all income
CODE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM
Code enforcement activities will play a key role in improving the quality of life
for residents of the Community Revitalization Districts. The City will continue
to encourage the conservation of the City's current stock of low and moderate-income
housing through ongoing neighborhood and area-wide inspections of residential housing
units for severe violations to stimulate the rehabilitation of substandard units
and/or demolition of unsafe structures. Continued funding of the Citywide Lot Clearing
Program should also be encouraged, and efforts should be intensified to cite owners
of overgrown lots that negatively impact neighborhoods throughout the City. Targeted
code enforcement activities over the next five years is highly recommended in the
seven Home Ownership Zones, which are being proposed in the neighborhoods of Allapattah,
East Little Havana, Little Haiti, Model City, Overtown and West Coconut Grove.
OTHER AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP STRATEGIES
The establishment of Home Ownership Zones in several of the City's residential
neighborhoods is just one aspect of the City's strategy to revitalize Miami's
residential neighborhoods. While providing affordable homeownership opportunities
to the City's very low, low and moderate-income families is paramount, the
need to facilitate the return of middle class families to the City is equally critical
and important for the revitalization of Miami's residential neighborhoods.
Over the past ten years, the out-migration of middle and upper income families and
individuals from the City of Miami to find more suitable and affordable housing
outside the City's corporate limits has occurred at a time when the cost of
providing city services have rapidly increased.
The City of Miami must be proactive and a facilitator in assisting and attracting
middle class families to the in-migration, which has been experienced in a number
of Miami's core residential neighborhoods. Not long ago the Miami's
residential neighborhoods of Buena Vista, Edgewater, Spring Gardens and the Upper
Eastside were in deep decline, and are now on the rebound with the influx of middle
class homeowners that have restored their homes.
SINGLE FAMILY REHABILITATION PROGRAM FOR MIDDLE INCOME HOUSEHOLDS.
In an attempt to attract middle and upper-income families into the City and its
residential neighborhoods, a home improvement program, designed to provide financial
assistance for the renovation of single family residential units in certain neighborhoods,
will be implemented by the City utilizing non-federal funds. The program would provide
low-interest loans of up to $35,000 for the rehabilitation of a single family home
purchased by a middle class household, which would be the homeowner's principal
residence. The funds would be provided to the homeowner at three (3%) for fifteen
years. Funding from the City's 1976 General Obligation Housing Bonds and Affordable
Housing Trust Fund would be made available to fund the program.