Housing advocates like myself and many other non-profits and community organizers have been raising awareness for quite some time, but nothing has really changed, at least not for people in need.
We’re still being priced-out and left out of mostly all new developments in both markets. Shelters are still full, vacant land is still sitting idle, gentrification is happening all around us, people on the waiting list are still waiting and those who make minimum wage can’t afford or even qualify for a two-bedroom apartment, at fair market rate.
Knowing all this, there should be more action, especially from our local policymakers, not just more statistics and data reports. Housing conditions are worsening and a comprehensive strategic plan is still unclear.
So here’s what needs to happen: Since local policymakers won’t step up, hold developers more accountable or propose new legislations or solutions to improve our unaffordable housing crisis, I will. While most homeowners receive a tax break or added savings on their tax returns, renters do not. In fact, monthly most renters pay-out sometimes double or triple the amount of a homeowner or mortgage, with no return.
So, here's a solution. I propose that we adopted the Rent Relief Act of 2017, locally. This act aims to provide relief to struggling renters’ who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent with a refundable tax credit on their taxes, up to 150 percent of HUD’s Fair Market Value. This would enable renters to keep money in their pockets.
This is the innovation that needs to happen to solve our housing crisis. As your “Local Affordable Housing Subject Matter Expert,” (a name given to me at this year’s “My Miami Story”) I see this as a way of building stronger communities, strengthening individuals and families as well as a 21st century affordable housing strategy for those being priced-out.
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