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Mixed-Income Project Hopes to Solve Problems

A Miami low-income housing project will soon offer market-rate units. The goal is to have some lower-income tenants’ costs paid by the higher-income renters.

MIAMI – Liberty Square is a historic, low-income housing project in Miami now being overhauled as a mixed-income development. It will feature low-income housing, affordable housing and market-rate units.

A partnership between Miami-Dade County and Related Group’s affordable-housing division will spend $500 million to develop more than 1,900 housing units on nine city blocks. About one-third of the project has been finished and occupied, and completion is anticipated by 2026.

“The fact that you do have higher-income folks that can pay more than the lower-income folks are paying will help to provide long-term sustainability,” says Michael Liu, director of the Miami-Dade Department of Public Housing and Community Development.”

Liu says the idea isn’t universal. “In some communities, it takes an effort to educate, and to prove by doing that it can work.”

Miami has more “cost-burdened renters” than any other major metropolitan area, with 60% of its population spending 30% or more of household income on housing, according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

The city and Related Group broke ground on the redevelopment project in 2017 and collaborated with the community to obtain their backing. Construction crews tore down the buildings block by block as they replaced them with the new structures, rather than all at once.

The project is expected to include a grocery store, educational facilities, children’s playgrounds and 47,000 square feet of retail space. At least 20% of all the new hires of the construction project must either be public-housing residents or low-income-housing residents of Miami-Dade County.

Source: Wall Street Journal (07/26/22) Acosta, Deborah

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