Leveraging Municipal Financing to Increase Access to Affordable Housing
Miami is booming and among the fastest growing cities in the nation. However, the benefits of growth are not shared equitably. As population increases, so too do housing costs, producing a significant shortage of affordable housing. The Miami metro area has the highest percentage in the country of working households spending more than half their income on housing costs. Compounding demand for affordable housing is the city’s high poverty rate – roughly 25 percent of Miami residents live in poverty, as compared to 15 percent nationally. Recently, the City of Miami authorized a $100 million bond to significantly increase the availability of affordable housing. The Miami-based Connect Capital team is working with stakeholders and the community-at-large on identifying the best strategies to leverage that bond to preserve and build homes affordable to thousands of residents in communities that are convening to jobs and transit and are consistent with residents’ resiliency goals.
The benefits of affordable housing to individuals and families are many and well-documented. They include increased income available for other basic needs like food, healthcare and transportation, and the stability and security necessary to pursue education, employment, and other potentially life-changing opportunities. In Miami, the team is especially interested in the improved health outcomes associated with affordable housing, including reduced stress and related adverse health outcomes. By focusing on adding housing near jobs and transit, the Connect Capital team also seeks to promote a more equitable, resilient Miami and improve low-income residents’ access to the benefits and opportunities stemming from the city’s current economic boom.
The Miami Connect Capital travel team consists of staff from the city’s departments of Community & Economic Development and Planning & Zoning, a land trust, an affordable housing advocacy organization, and a for-profit real estate developer. The larger home team includes broader representation from city government, developers and advocacy organizations, as well as financial and anchor institutions.