When I moved to Miami Beach more than 15 years ago, I lived in a $400-a-month apartment near Fifth Street. As a government lawyer making $32,000 a year, and paying school loans, that was all I could afford. I wanted to live in the greatest place around, and the low-rise apartments in Flamingo Park gave me my start in our city, a city that has now allowed me to shape its policies.
Our tourism and retail employees need affordable housing, and the city needs them to stay. The irony of the recent apartment purchases, and subsequent articles about the gentrification in South Beach, lands squarely at City Hall, where Commissioner Joy Malakoff and I have been pushing for an increase in workforce-housing inventory. Now, instead of increasing available housing for those who work in the city, we’re playing catch up.
Keeping the labor force within the city limits is essential for the community’s growth. It keeps people with skin in the game here in Miami Beach. The more folks reside and work here, the less who commute along our limited causeways.
Although I agree with the mayor that the private sector is the cause of the housing decrease, it falls squarely on our shoulders as city leaders to ensure that we keep the backbone of Miami Beach intact and sustainable.
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Michael Grieco, commissioner, Miami Beach