South Florida

Miami-Dade Declares ‘Affordability Emergency' as Rents Continue to Skyrocket

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Leaders in Miami-Dade County declared an “affordability emergency” as rents continue to skyrocket and prices become unaffordable for many in South Florida.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and leaders on the county commission announced new measures Friday morning.

Mayor Levine Cava signed executive actions adding $13 million more to a fund for emergency rental assistance, known as the ERAP program. The measures come as rents in the area increased 30 percent year over year.

The emergency rental assistance is money sent from the federal government to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The mayor's orders are also aimed at streamlining the permitting and building process for developers building affordable housing.

To get that emergency assistance, anyone making 80% of the median income of the county can apply but the county will prioritize low-income people over the middle class.

The stakes are high. According to the United States Census Bureau, despite all the hype of Northerners moving into South Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward County had a decrease in total population from 2020 to 2021. Tens of thousands of people moved out of South Florida.

Mayor Levine Cava also sent a letter to the 34 other municipal mayors in the county, requesting a countywide meeting next month. She hopes to create one unified plan, instead of each city government doing what it wants with money and policy. She said getting leaders on the same page would be more effective in time, energy, and resources.

According to Census data, between July 2020 and July 2021, the total population of the county decreased by around 30,000 people to about 2.66 million people. The Broward population went down by 10,000 to 1.93 million. County leaders say the year end numbers for 2021 might go back up.

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