Planning collaboration targets affordable housing shortage in Miami
Written by John Charles Robbins on August 14, 2018
City of Miami leaders are turning to master planning work to help address the critical shortage of affordable housing in the growing city.
The Miami City Commission recently approved a resolution establishing collaboration between the city and Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center to work on the preparation of the city’s Affordable Housing Master Plan.
The move allows the FIU center to collaborate with the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development on the housing plan.
Commissioners approved allocating funds from the department’s general fund, subject to the availability of funds and budgetary approval at the time of need.
The work is estimated to cost $110,000.
City Manager Emilio Gonzalez is authorized to negotiate and execute a professional services agreement for a two-year term with the FIU center for the master planning work.
Ken Russell, vice chairman of the city commission, said the master plan is expected to be completed over the next few months.
He said the master plan will help city officials decide how to spend some of the general obligation bond that voters approved last November.
Of the $400 million bond, $100 million is earmarked for affordable housing and economic development.
Mr. Russell said the master plan will assist the city in developing priorities to spend the bond money and other funds on affordable housing, “as well as consider policy changes to tackle this wide-ranging crisis in our neighborhoods.”
City staff authored a background memo on the collaboration with FIU to help ease the problem of little to no affordable or workforce housing available in the city.
“The City has rapidly become one of the less affordable cities in the last few years for many residents. The lack of affordable housing is causing displacement in our communities, affecting the economic growth,” it said.
The Department of Community and Economic Development has the need to engage the FIU center in the collaborative development of the plan, staff said.
Preparation of the plan will include definitive purpose, establishing goals, review and analyzing existing housing characteristics as well as demographic and economic characteristics of households within the city.
The collaborative team will also evaluate popular trends, forecast housing needs, prepare strategies and develop the implementation program.
The legislation notes that given the magnitude of the challenge, the Department of Community and Economic Development needed to enter into an agreement with the university’s Metropolitan Center for the preparation of the city’s Affordable Housing Master Plan.
The purpose of the plan is to align resources, ensure a unified strategic direction, and facilitate community partnership to achieve a shared vision of housing affordability.
The agreement is between the city and the Florida International Board of Trustees on behalf of Florida International University’s School of International and Public Affairs, The Metropolitan Center.
The scope of services says the FIU center will work with city staff on the master plan, which is to be submitted to the city by Dec. 31.
An intro to the agreement says, “The City is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the U.S. composed of vibrant neighborhoods including Allapattah, Coconut Grove, Edison, Little Havana, Model City, Overtown and Wynwood.
“Recognizing the need to maintain and enhance its cultural diversity, the Plan will help ensure the values that are central to the City and its neighborhoods – diversity, inclusivity, sustainability – are supported by a spectrum of housing choice and opportunity.
“Without a sufficient supply of housing affordable to lower-wage workers, it will become increasingly difficult for the City to attract and retain a diverse workforce and grow vibrant and sustainable neighborhood economies.
“As such, the Plan will provide the analytical and policy framework to advance a bold action agenda to address the City’s current and future demand and supply of affordable housing.”
FIU says the Metropolitan Center has developed a unique methodology for assessing community housing supply and demand issues in the context of the local economy.
The center analyzes key demographic and economic conditions and trends that impact local housing supply and demand.
The demographic and economic base analyses are to provide the data underpinnings for several layers of affordability analysis based on local employment, household incomes, housing values and current and projected housing market conditions in the city and larger market area.
The FlU center is to work closely with city officials and local stakeholders groups, including local businesses and community-based organizations, in preparing the plan.