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Local Housing Market Changes, Black Miami-Dade and Nicole Henry

Renters in the Woodner apartment building in Washington, D.C., protest on May 28 to demand that their rent be forgiven during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Renters in the Woodner apartment building in Washington, D.C., protest on May 28 to demand that their rent be forgiven during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The housing market in South Florida is red hot despite the pandemic. Plus, an Instagram account exploring the history of Black Miami-Dade County. And jazz singer Nicole Henry in our series Live from the 305.

On this Wednesday, Jan. 6 edition of Sundial:

Housing Market Changes

Home sales continue to rise in South Florida despite the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. More Americans are moving to Florida from places like New York and California to pay lower taxes — as workplaces remain remote.

We spoke with Miami Herald reporters Rebecca San Juan and Rene Rodriguez.

“You start to see a little bit more gradual activity because the brokers got clever. They started doing home showings through Zoom video showcases. Instead of having to open houses, they would walk you through it with a video," San Juan said. "And New Yorkers, people in large cities, where the outbreak was particularly bad, really wanted to get out of there and they wanted to go live somewhere where they weren't sitting on top of each other. So that kind of kick started the market here again.”

She attributes the success of South Florida’s housing markets to lower taxes attracting companies, the good weather, and Miami’s attractiveness as a global metropolis. The median sales price of a home in Miami-Dade County in November reached an all time record of $450,000 this year.

“That's not an affordable price for most people that I know. I think that that's what we used to think of luxury as before. But what drives prices, of course, is always demand," Rodriguez said. "You had people in condos who weren't crazy about the idea of living on top of each other being so close to their neighbors. So they went out and they started buying homes."

Black Stories in Miami Dade

Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall is a board member for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. That very same board, more than 70 years ago, was part of the decision to forcefully remove her family from their home in Allapattah. MDCPS and Miami-Dade County removed several families from her predominately-Black neighborhood, through the process of eminent domain, so an all-white school could be built.

The story of Bendross-Mindingall’s neighborhood, known as the Railroad Shop Colored Addition, was incredibly important to former WLRN reporter Nadege Green. Now, as the director of community research and storytelling at the Community Justice Project, Green is continuing to amplify the stories and history of Black Miami. She’s also started an Instagram page, called Black Miami Dade, where she’s continuing to collect stories and share that history.

“Black Miami-Dade is not really accessible. We don’t really have a museum for Black folks in Miami-Dade. There aren’t a lot of places to find that information and that history,” Green said. “This was like my love letter to Black Miami-Dade. It became a research notebook and a visual notebook.”

Green says ultimately the project is focused on democratizing information and making stories available that have either been intentionally covered up or haven’t been given due coverage.

Nicole Henry

For the past two decades, Nicole Henry has been a mainstay in the Miami jazz scene. Three of her albums have landed on the U.S. Billboard Top 10 list and she’s performed in festivals and concerts across the globe.

We spoke with her back in November as part of the latest installment of WLRN’s Live from the 305, showcasing South Florida musicians shaping the music scene.

“It's [Miami] like a magnet for me, I love it and I feel like this is my hometown. I was born in Philly and raised in Bucks County...I actually believe that Miami has just as much talent and great talent as New York. I think a lot of the people here could survive in New York as long as they know how to hustle,” Henry said.

Henry has focused on raising the voices of others, with her 8th annual winter gala concert this past December raising funds for the Miami Music Project.

Nicole is continuing to perform concerts virtually and her new single "Feeling Good," will be out this February.

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.