Google Ads help pay the expense of maintaining this site
Click Here for the Neighborhood Transformation Website
Fair Use Disclaimer
Neighborhood Transformation is a nonprofit,
noncommercial website that, at times, may contain copyrighted material
that have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. It makes such material available in its efforts to advance the
understanding of poverty and low income distressed neighborhoods in
hopes of helping to find solutions for those problems. It believes that
this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Persons wishing to
use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of their own that
go beyond 'fair use' must first obtain permission from the copyright
Herald - November 8, 2006
Miami-Dade Housing Agency
gets new boss
By MATTHEW I. PINZUR
to climb out of numerous scandals in Miami-Dade's affordable-housing
programs, County Manager George Burgess announced Wednesday that he
selected a senior official from the Tampa Housing Authority to take
over the beleaguered Miami-Dade Housing Agency.
Kris Warren's tasks will be to improve internal operations and
implement proposed reforms, including large fines and possible jail
sentences for developers or homeowners who bilk the system.
passionate about housing,'' said Warren, 39, the Tampa agency's senior
vice president and chief operating officer. ``Miami-Dade is open to
changes and has an opportunity to make those changes.''
selected Warren after a three-month national search, picking her from
six finalists culled from more than 140 applicants.
it cannot happen overnight, I know Ms. Warren shares our commitment to
move in a direction that will fast-track delivery of the county's
housing initiatives,'' Burgess wrote in a memo to county leaders.
officials have been turning to Tampa for help since September and are
asking the commission to spend up to $100,000 to reimburse the Tampa
agency for consulting through Dec. 1.
activists were nonplussed by the announcement, saying problems at the
housing agency run deeper than its leadership.
agency] needs more than a new director -- it needs new direction,''
said Sushma Sheth, communications director for the Miami Workers Center.
county commission will likely vote on Warren's confirmation on Nov. 28,
when a number of other housing proposals are also scheduled for debate,
• An overhaul of the infill housing
program, which allows builders to acquire land cheaply to build homes
that are sold below market value to low- and moderate-income families.
Fines of up to $10,000 and jail sentences of up to 60 days for
violating the rules of the infill program. The existing program has no
• A study into issuing up to $200
million worth of bonds to meet activists' demands to expand
• Authority for Burgess
to expedite repair of existing affordable housing and construction of
new units by allowing shorter advertising time for bids, smaller
selection committees and negotiation of contracts before approval from
MIAMI HERALD SERIES
problems with infill housing were detailed in a Miami Herald
investigation, House of Lies, published in July. The four-part series
exposed widespread mismanagement and misspending at the Miami-Dade
Housing Agency, which paid a cadre of developers millions of dollars
for affordable housing that was never built.
when houses were built, some developers bypassed the poor to sell to
real-estate investors, buyers who owned more than one property or
families who flipped the houses for a quick profit.
flipping was among a string of problems that tainted the infill
program, which was conceived five years ago and drew national
recognition for bringing new life to empty lots scattered across the
''We are going to be closely tracking
progress,'' said Wendi Norris, director of the county's General
Services Administration, which recently took over management of the
Amid The Miami Herald's stories,
Burgess ousted six Housing Agency officials. Local and federal agencies
The proposed changes to the
infill program would dramatically increase the county's regulation and
oversight. For at least 30 years, houses built under the program could
only be sold to families whose income is below levels set by the
federal government. At current levels, certain properties would be
available to a family of four making up to $78,260, and others would be
reserved for families earning $27,950 or less.
prices for the houses would also be fixed by the county.
would be required to live in the house as their primary residence, and
the county would have to approve future sales.
The revamped program, however, will require
intensive monitoring of real-estate values across the county, and some
fear it could hurt the very people it is intended to help.
the homes would be locked into below-market prices, the owners would
not profit as much as other homeowners when they sell and might have
trouble finding brokers willing to handle the transaction.
creating second-class homeowners,'' said John Little, a community
development lawyer at Legal Services of Greater Miami. ``You're forcing
them to sell it for a greatly reduced rate.''
said the price caps were necessary to ensure prices remain affordable
for future low-income buyers.
The idea of raising up
to $200 million by issuing new bonds was sponsored by Commissioner
Dorrin Rolle. It matches demands made in late September by a coalition
of groups seeking a major immediate investment in new affordable
Sheth said she was cautiously optimistic
about the bill, which would require Burgess to present a feasibility
study about the bonds by the end of January.
legislation answers the call of hundreds of Miami-Dade residents that
spent the night on the lawn of government center,'' Sheth said,
referring to an overnight demonstration held in September. ``Will this
legislation build more lies or the foundation for accountable and
community-driven development in Miami-Dade County?''
Herald staff writer Debbie Cenziper contributed to this report.