Almost 200 people now have a place to call home in an affordable housing development just opened in Little Havana.
In addition to a roof, kitchens and beds for low-income and formerly homeless people, Amistad’s 89 apartments offer supportive housing services:
“We do case management, we do employment and training services, we do life-skills training, we do parenting-skills trainings, we do activities with the kids,” says Stephanie Berman, president of Carrfour Supportive Housing.
Together with Pinnacle, a for-profit housing developer, Carrfour was able to build the housing in a prime location close to downtown Miami which is particularly helpful for residents who rely on public transportation.
Residents were chosen through a lottery system because there was such a high demand for the units.
Berman says there is not enough supply of affordable housing, especially in Miami.
“I think Miami has some additional challenges, there's not a lot of land available,” she says. “There's a lot of competition on the market-rate for-profit side and you know to pay top dollar for land makes it very difficult to make one of these deals work.”
Fifteen hundred people applied for the 89-unit complex. Only 183 were selected.
Sarah Morales and her family of four were a few of the lucky ones. They were homeless just a few months ago, getting help from a local shelter.
“After losing everything and just being here and getting everything back together, it was amazing,” says Morales.
Starting two years ago, the Morales spent most of their money on medical expenses for their son, who has a heart condition requiring extended hospital stays. For a time, the family was essentially living at the hospital. Directed to Amistad by the homeless shelter that was helping the family out, Morales entered the lottery.
Now, she proudly shows off her large ground-floor, three-bedroom apartment.
Her 2-year-old son is doing much better. He now has enough room to do physical therapy every day. And has finally learned how to walk.