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Miami commissioners vote to create homes for homeless on Virginia Key

Virginia Key Outdoor Center MH.jpeg
Jose Iglesias
Miami Herald
Miami, Florida, July 28, 2022 - A cyclist makes his way past a plot of land between the Virginia Key Outdoor Center and the mountain bike course at North Point, adjacent to the sewage treatment plant in Virginia Key. Miami has considered the possibility of taking people experiencing homelessness off the streets and moving them to a city-sponsored encampment on this site in Virginia Key.

One hour after Miami commissioners rejected a concept to create a temporary homeless shelter on Virginia Key, one commissioner flipped his vote, allowing the city to pursue a plan to set up “tiny homes” for 50 to 100 people on the island.

The idea for a “transition zone” was first suggested by Commissioner Joe Carollo in 2021 and was pitched Thursday as a way to connect people who are homeless with social services. But it sparked an outcry among outdoor enthusiasts and cyclists who bike, hike and paddle in the area, and was criticized by the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

City staff had presented a list of three possible sites across the city that could host a shelter. Initially, Carollo and Chairwoman Christine King were the only two votes in favor of a pilot program to build several dozen small rooms on the northeast end of Virginia Key. When Carollo moved to launch the program, the vote failed Thursday evening. Then less than two hours later, Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla asked to reconsider the idea.

Read more from our news partner at The Miami Herald.