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CBS4.com  - June 25, 2007

Miami Beach CDC:
Affordable Housing Hits South Beach

Call 305-604-CITY For Info On Getting On The List

Brian Andrews

(CBS4) SOUTH BEACH If living in a nice place for less than $500 a month in South Beach sounds too good to be true, you may change your mind once you hear about a new initiative being carried out by the City of Miami Beach.

South Beach is one of the area"s hottest addresses--great nightlife, cool condos, and Art Deco apartments--but let"s face it, it"s really expensive to live there. A new solution that could benefit nearly three quarters of the city"s workforce could change this by providing affordable housing.

"My sister bought me these two things," said Miami Beach Resident George Fernandez. "It's like a dream come true. I'm living in a place that I never could afford."

He lives in a building that has been designated as affordable housing.

"All the systems are new. electric, the plumbing, mechanical," said Roberto Datorre, with the Miami Beach Community Development Corp.

The well appointed units rent for about $500 a month.

"Well the last one we had to do a lottery, we had more than 200 people that applied for these units," he said.

"If you're a single person, making about $31,000 a year, you would qualify for housing here," said Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez.

The City of Miami Beach is putting up nearly $14 million to help the developer purchase three old hotels near the convention center: The Allen, The London House, and Barclay Plaza.

The Barclay used to be a popular vacation hotel in its heyday, but much work needs to be done to restore it to its former splendor and to bring it up to modern standards.

"I know a lot of people that have like two or three people living in a one bedroom apartment, all splitting the rent, just so they can live on the beach, and that's what they call affordable housing," said Datorre.

"We're very very proud of our projects," said Mayor David Dermer. "Frankly, they've been scandal free."

Dermer says the new units in the "Cando" or Cultural Arts District will target workers in the South Beach Hotel, restaurant and especially the cultural arts industries.

"I'd love to get as much affordable housing as possible for people in the cultural world because we understand the importance of that community to building a city," he said.

For infomation on getting on the affordable housing list, call 305-604-CITY, or For Info On Miami Beach Affordable Housing, Click Here

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