The weather for Wednesday, August 25, was pleasant for a summer afternoon in more ways than one for those who will reside in Fair Oaks Apartments. District Eight Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins and representatives from Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s office were joined by U.S. Representative Congressman Carlos Gimenez to congratulate the Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development Department for opening the latest affordable housing complex in the Leisure City Community Urban Center.
Michael Liu, Director of the Department since 2014, spoke of the competition for land as only one of the issues they face with seeking to add more affordable housing. He praised the Commissioner for her on-going efforts. “It’s a pleasure to be able to work with her and her staff; she’s one of the great new leaders in Miami-Dade County.”
Affordable housing is always a priority for Commissioner Cohen Higgins, who also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of County Commissioner's Public Housing and Community Services Committee.
“I grew up in public housing,” she said in her brief remarks. “I welcome Fair Oaks Apartments to our South Dade community. Now more than ever, we need more affordable housing in Miami-Dade County. By bringing forward innovative housing options, such as Fair Oaks Apartments, I hope to not only create housing opportunities for our current South Dade residents, but also for future South Dade families.” In acknowledging the twenty-ninth anniversary of that one terrible day, she commented, “I don’t know how many of you were here for Hurricane Andrew. I was and if I learned anything, it was we come together as a community.”
Miami-Dade County Chief Community Services Officer Morris Copeland, who would later present a plaque from the Mayor, echoed his experience in growing up in public housing. “What zip code you live in doesn’t dictate your future. The Director and his staff are doing God’s work; they are putting roofs over people’s heads.”
One such individual is Norga Robinson, a retired teacher, who addressed attendees. “Thank you for this opportunity. The growth of affordable housing is needed in Homestead. I’ve been here for thirty-seven years and lived in different places. This is the best.”
The 120 units at 29003 South Dixie Highway, Homestead were described in a Press Release. “Taking full advantage of its location as an anchor within the Leisure City Community Urban Center, residents can enjoy access to public transit through the South-Dade Busway, three supermarkets, a pharmacy, day care, and county parks, all within a five to ten-minute walk. Residents can also enjoy an on-site leasing/management office, club room and fitness center.
Besides greater density and walkability, Fair Oaks features other eco-conscious measures such as car charging stations for electric cars.
Units have impact windows, energy star appliances, and there is a generator for the elevator and common areas.”
These one-bedroom/ one-bath and two-bedroom/two bath apartments are almost at full capacity. Sixty-six individuals and families were already in residence with the others to soon follow. There are seven units set aside for persons with special needs, with three of those units meeting hearing/visual impaired standards.
Residents must meet eligibility criteria by qualifying to income and area median income (AMI) guidelines.
To gain an understanding of how affordable these units are, a single person must earn less than $37,980 (60% AMI) or $17,724 (28% AMI).
A couple must earn less than $43,440 (60% AMI) or $20,272 (28% AMI).
A family of three must earn less than $48,840 (60% AMI) or $22,792 (28% AMI).
A four-person family must earn less than $54,520 (60% AMI) or $25,312 (28% AMI).
And, a five person family must earn less than $58,620 (60% AMI) or $27,356 (28% AMI).”
Affordable housing comes under public-private partnerships and Landmark Development has worked in many projects all over Miami-Dade County.
This one was in competition among thirty for specific state funding and was one of only three chosen state-wide. Miami-Dade County also contributed $2.1 million through a construction loan and Francisco Rojo, Vice President of Landmark Companies, acknowledged the lending institutions who provided loans for additional funding required.
For more information about different County Public Housing and Community Development Department programs, go to https://www.miamidade.gov/global/housing/home.page