Anyone that lives in Miami knows that rent here is too damn high. And we have good reason to feel that way. According to 2015 U.S. Census estimates, the average Miami resident spends about 28 percent of their income on housing costs — a larger share than what residents pay for rent in any other U.S. city, including New York and Los Angeles.
And there are many folks with lower incomes, especially in Miami’s African-American and Hispanic communities, who pay more than 50 percent of their income on rent, making it a constant struggle for them to afford basics like nutritious food, health insurance, and transportation.
Meanwhile the rent just keeps getting higher. According to RentCafe, a two-bedroom apartment now goes for about $1,821 a month, a 3 percent increase from the previous year. That means a minimum wage worker with a family needs to work about three jobs just to pay the rent.
Despite these sobering statistics, fewer affordable housing units are being built. Between 2014 and 2016, only about 10 percent of multifamily construction in Miami was targeted at the lower third of the market. And state money designated for affordable housing, like the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund, has been used for other budget priorities.
That’s why over the next few weeks we’ve decided to explore the issue of affordable housing in our city. We want to find out how the shortage of affordable housing impacts our quality of life and identify potential solutions to fix this serious problem. As always, we will be asking you to share your questions and concerns about housing in Miami.
What do you want to know? Tell us below what’s on your mind. And next week we’ll put a few of those questions up to a vote so you all can decide on what we’ll dig into on this topic.
In the meantime, here’s some recent reporting and research on affordable housing in Miami for you to bone up on the issue as we explore this topic together:
- Five reasons Miami needs stronger affordable housing laws
- Renters in South Florida’s minority communities spend more than half their income on rent
- Need a basic apartment on minimum wage? You’ll have to work-and work to afford it
- More than 500 Miami Beach residents have been waiting three years for affordable housing
- Climate change is creating an affordable housing crisis in Miami