Opinion

Affordable housing in Miami: A despicable tale

There is a crisis in Miami, the result of which has been people forced from their homes, communities uprooted, and promises broken, culminating in one of the biggest scandals to surface in newspaper headlines in a decade.

In Miami, the difference between the cost of housing and the average income is among the highest in any developed nation. In Miami, there are thousands of people waiting to receive housing. In Miami, there are people mired in poverty, people with children trying to make a better life. And in Miami, there have been millions of dollars that were supposed to go to affordable housing that simply never made it, because of a corrupt and incompetent government program.

Over 70 million dollars that was supposed to go to that affordable housing, but was wasted through corruption, fraud and incompetence. That’s 70 million that ended up in the pockets of contractors, with not a brick laid. The communities in Liberty City and Overtown have known about it for years. It is common for people there to be handed a voucher for public housing and promised a beautiful new home if “temporarily” vacated. But some people have been waiting six years for the new homes promised to them by the county, homes that never came. Sometimes if you pay your lease late, or cause any minor infraction, your voucher is useless and you could be left homeless. This is not just a handful of people that are left displaced from these affordable housing development projects in Miami. There are some 44,000 people on the waiting list for government subsidized housing right now.

A July 23rd article in the Miami Herald described the scandal as one that “shook the foundation of public housing in one of the poorest and most distressed communities in the nation,” with millions of dollars misspent and thousands of people displaced or homeless. A Miami-Dade grand jury called the Housing Agency ”an utter and complete disaster” and condemned what it called ”cronyism, corruption and gross mismanagement’.’

But all that the county has done is fire a handful of people and jail one. This does not change the system, and it does not provide housing for those in desperate need. Even in the face of this, the county is not going to put any money into affordable housing, as visible by the upcoming budget hearing where 6.8 billion dollars is to be doled out to other projects such as an opera ($30 million) and security cameras. Twenty of the largest social justice advocacy groups and grassroots organizations have banded together to ensure that money is spent on housing for those who can’t afford it. This Tuesday at 4pm, one of the final budget hearings is being held. There will be three hundred people there who plan to hold out for an all-night vigil. From a crippled foundation of poor governance and corruption, we can build a house through what democratic levers we have.

Jacob Coker-Dukowitz is a junior majoring in Geography and Economics. He may be contacted at j.cokerdukowotz@miami.edu.

September 19, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.