So many people attended the press conference that the residents of this poor neighborhood stopped to ask what was going on. Two neighbors who live in another affordable-housing project nearby said the new construction was pretty but too expensive for the neighborhood.
Two of the apartments will be rented for $705 a month, and the remaining four for $921 to low-income families that earn 80 percent or less of the county’s median household income, or a maximum of $52,300 a year for a family of four.
Yet many families in Allapattah make much less per year and already pay a lower rent amount than the cost at Parkview Apartments II. Census data from 2010 show that families in the neighborhood pay an average rent of about $631 a month. The HUD criteria depend on the median income at the countywide level, not the neighborhood level.
“This rent is very high for the area, where everybody is poor,” said an elderly neighbor who declined to be identified for fear of losing his house. “This project does not resolve any of the housing problems. Here they favor the rich.”
Under the terms of city grants, Marcelo must maintain the rent at the “low income” levels established by HUD for 30 years.
During the press conference, Gort said he had heard from residents who feared displacement as rents in the area rise.
“There was a theory that we wanted to remove low-income people from the city of Miami,” Gort said. “This is the type of program that guarantees that this is not the idea . . . Those rents have to be maintained for 30 years.”
Gómez explained that the conditions of the buildings of Parkview Apartments II are better than those of other old buildings in the area. The apartments have two bedrooms, 1 ½ bathrooms, tile floors and new kitchen appliances.
Regalado acknowledged that the six apartments in Parkview are a drop in the bucked when compared to the vast need for affordable housing in the County.
But he considered the Parkview project a message to neighborhood residents that “Allapattah has not been left behind. There is new construction happening not only in Brickell but in Midtown and Wynwood.”