In the May 21 article “Tourism’s invisible army,” the Miami Herald documents the lack of affordable housing for the 143,700 service workers in the hospitality industry, many of whom work in Miami Beach. The Beach has an immediate need for 8,000 units. The story documented the lengthy commute for Odelie Paret, a Fountainebleau housekeeper who lives in Opa-locka.
The Beach is virtually fully built out and has charter restrictions that prohibit overall building size. Cities that have produced meaningful amounts of affordable housing do it by increasing development rights in exchange for providing affordable units.
At best, the Beach could provide a few hundred units — far short of what is needed. Odelie found adequate affordable housing for her family in Opa-locka. The problem is her two-hour commute home over causeways and streets clogged with fellow workers leaving the Beach.
The only way to provide a significant amount of accessible affordable housing for workers is to enhance transit to reduce commutes and car dependency.
If there was a dedicated route for a streetcar from the Beach to the mainland, commutes would be reduced. If we are serious about making affordable housing accessible, we must expedite transit solutions.
Neisen O. Kasdin,