plan sought to buy, relocate Camillus House homeless shelter
Redevelopment Agency officials say they will try to salvage a plan
to purchase Camillus House, a downtown homeless shelter, following
a city commission decision last week to scuttle funding for the project.
restructuring our budget. We'll present something probably in the
next 60 days," said Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele, who chairs
the Community Redevelopment Agency.
sale is going to go on," Mr. Teele said, "perhaps not as
scheduled. But the details will continue to be ironed out and the
mechanism will be identified."
Community Redevelopment Agency in June approved a letter of intent
to buy Camillus House for $2.4 million.
week, city commissioners rejected a plan to tap $3 million in Community
Development Block Grant funds earmarked for Overtown redevelopment
projects to cover the purchase. Activist protested the fund transfer,
citing concerns about the future of a Third Avenue corridor plan for
Simpson, executive director of Camillus House, said delays could hamper
efforts to buy land for a new shelter.
he said, would use $2 million from the sale of the existing homeless
shelter to finance the land.
Simpson said the 30,000-square-foot shelter at 726 NE First Ave. is
overcrowded. Larger quarters, he said, are needed to accommodate expanded
Simpson said if the property appraisal of $2.4 million expires in
60 days, the deal would have to be renegotiated.
market has changed dramatically since the first of the year,"
he said. "There's a lot of both speculation and escalation of
he said, the city agency charged with redevelopment of Overtown, Park
West and Omni neighborhoods may eventually buy the homeless shelter.
still quite optimistic," Mr. Simpson said. "The intention
is still the same. We want to work with the CRA."
Joe Sanchez, who opposes the purchase of Camillus House, said a new
funding mechanism will not persuade him to approve a deal that allows
Camillus House to buy back the site in two years at the same price
if relocation plans fall through.
will still oppose it because I still think it's a bad deal,"
Mr. Sanchez said. "These are the same gravy deals that put the
city on the verge of bankruptcy."
Sanchez said he opposes letting Camillus House continue operating
the shelter rent free for up to five years.
don't need to buy it," he said. "The private sector will
buy it the next day."
Teele said he believes purchase of Camillus House falls in line with
the Community Redevelopment Agency's goal of boosting property values.
removal of the Camillus House from Park West is the single most important
long-term activity that can be undertaken for the redevelopment of
Overtown," he said.
a private developer offered $1.8 million last year for the location,
Mr. Teele said the Community Redevelopment Agency, in addition to
offering $2.4 million this year, also has committed to help raise
$6 million for the relocation.
Teele said he plans to visit with charitable groups in Washington,
DC, to solicit donations for the project.
existing location is neither dignified nor state of the art,"
Mr. Teele said. "We're going to use every resource at the disposal
of the City of Miami to assist in providing a quality, dignified Camillus
House in a location that's appropriate for their mission."
Tom s Regalado said he would support a new funding mechanism to buy
think that Camillus House needs help in moving their facilities,"
he said. "If we find the funds, I will favor any kind of action
to move Camillus House.
is not a deal. It's an investment in the future. If we don't do anything,
then it's going to be there," Mr. Regalado said. "They are
not in a hurry to move. They can wait two or three years more
but we can't