The future looks bright for a blighted area and a Miami charity.
For years, the Park West district has lagged behind its neighbors. Though the area was marked for redevelopment in the 1970s and ’80s, there was not much construction, even as downtown, Omni and Brickell experienced building booms of their own. Despite its key geographic location, Park West was a no-man’s-land scattered with vacant lots.
Now, with the June 25 demolition of the 52-year old Camillus House homeless shelter, Park West has a chance of finally attaining its slice of the pie.
The Camillus property, which is up for sale, has already garnered a bid of $2 million. City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has called the demolition “a game changer.”
The redevelopment also brings a positive change for Camillus House. Founded in 1960 by the Catholic Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd, the nonprofit organization aims to eliminate chronic homelessness in Miami. For the last three decades, the charity has been searching for a new home. On May 18, Camillus House inaugurated its new $80-million space at the Norwegian Cruise Line Campus near Jackson Memorial Hospital, made possible by community and corporate donations.
Camillus House has moved from a cramped, worn-down shelter to a sprawling three-acre site. In just a few years — when the entire space is completed — its capacity will triple. Soon, 340 people will receive refuge within its shaded patios.
The state-of-the-art facilities not only take care of more residents, they also better serve their needs. Camillus House now has an expanded residential treatment center for both substance-abuse and mental-health issues. It also has more on-site housing options, as well as a dog kennel.
Truly, its new location advances its mission of helping homeless people get off the street for good.
“What we have now is a place that reflects the dignity of the people we serve,” said Camillus House director Paul Ahr.
As the city of Miami continues to grow, it’s good to see economic and humanitarian progress go hand in hand.