Housing is one of the most important problems facing Miami Dade residents. And this is a major concern that Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is working hard to address.

She is well aware that even people who are making upper middle-class incomes are struggling to pay rent or find a pleasant and affordable place to live. She and other Miami-Dade administrators are working to address this problem.

Levine Cava stated that substantial money is being spent to help people who are facing housing problems. “We are providing support and relief to people and families earning up to 140 percent of the area’s median income. We are looking for ways to help people who are struggling to pay for housing,” she said.

Levine Cava said she realizes some people who want to live and work in Miami may not be able to rent or buy their dream home. They may have to adjust their expectations. She will continue working to provide housing opportunities for Miami-Dade residents.

Levine Cava is proud of an investment program she has worked to develop that will deal with the housing affordability crisis, the HOMES plan.

This plan will provide financial assistance to help Miami-Dade residents afford their housing, increase the availability of affordable and workforce housing by creating 32,000 new units and enhance and preserve existing affordable housing.

This plan will also provide over $7 million in additional funding for weatherization of single-family homes and resilient retrofits of naturally occuring affordable housing. The new affordable and workforce housing funded by the County will be built using cool roofs and will meet higher code standards related to energy efficiency.

Miami-Dade County’s Climate Action Strategy has a target of retrofitting 167,500 homes to reduce energy costs by 28 percent, prioritizing low to moderate income homes, by 2030.

Levine Cava stressed that improving access to affordable and safe housing for everyone is an important goal.

The HOMES Plan involves a group of programs to provide relief to struggling homeowners and renters in Miami-Dade.

Housing Preservation is a program to provide an infusion of direct funding to property owners and builders across the county, to preserve at-risk affordable housing and helping more low-income homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.

The Workforce Housing Incentive Program (WHIP) provides local property owners direct incentives to expand the existing supply of available workforce housing, providing immediate relief to renters and eligible homebuyers. It will also provide an additional incentive to landlords who accept Section 8 vouchers.

Miami-Dade County will invest $25 million to provide direct relief payments of up to $1,500 to thousands of struggling homeowners across Miami-Dade who are behind on their mortgage, homeowners' insurance, HOA fees, and/or utilities payments.

Levine Cava is proud to have announced the launch of the County’s Extreme Heat Action plan, the first in Miami-Dade’s history. The Plan will work to mitigate the effects of extreme heat through education, and improving cooling options for families and individuals. She wants residents to know that extreme heat causes more deaths than hurricanes and tropical storms. Heat kills about 34 people each year in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade has hired Jane Gilbert to be the Chief Heat Officer.

One major goal for Gilbert, Levine Cava, and county administrators is to increase the tree canopy.

Currently, the county’s canopy is about 20 percent. The county has a goal of reaching a canopy of 30 percent. It is also important to address the inequalities of an urban tree canopy coverage in lower income communities.

Another goal is to install different types of cool pavements in low-impact areas, such as walkways, bike paths, parking lots and low-volume roads. In Miami-Dade, pavements represent the largest percentage of a community’s land cover, compared with roof and vegetated surfaces. Cool pavement could be permeable, allowing water and water vapor into the voids of the pavement that keep it cooler when moist. Or it could be more reflective than standard pavement, reducing incoming solar radiation and cooling the air temperature, allowing for a more comfortable environment.

Levine Cava was disappointed with the recent special session held by the Florida Legislature and said that the insurance legislation did not do nearly enough for residents. She released a statement that said, “Too many Florida families have felt the pain of our unstable property insurance market, facing skyrocketing annual rates and the sudden cancellations of longstanding policies. This month’s special session was the ideal opportunity to tackle these issues head-on and provide meaningful relief to struggling homeowners. Unfortunately, the property insurance package legislators just passed does not provide the reform we need to bring down the cost of insurance, expand the number of insurers in the Florida market, or protect policyholders. Rather than bringing down Florida insurance rates – already the highest in the country, three times the national average – this package will only serve to increase premiums for Florida homeowners while providing even fewer consumer protections,” she said.

Levine Cava’s statement continued, “My administration will continue to do everything in our power to bring down the cost of housing for our residents – by investing in building new housing people can afford, creating more pathways to homeownership, and working with our Board of County Commissioners to explore reimagined flood protection regulation and other policies.”

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