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HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge calls Miami the 'epicenter of the housing crisis'

Miami Times Article

South Florida’s housing crisis has caught the attention of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge. 

Fudge met with local leaders this week to tour affordable housing projects in Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s district and discuss how the Biden-Harris administration plans to lower costs and increase the supply of affordable housing units. 

“I decided today to come down to the epicenter of the housing crisis in this country,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It is a shame that people who work hard every day cannot afford to live in the communities in which they work.”

The visit comes two months after Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava declared an affordable housing crisis and announced an additional $13 million in rental assistance for residents through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). 

Earlier this year, the RealtyHop housing affordability index named Miami as the most expensive housing market in the U.S., surpassing New York City and Los Angeles. 

According to Levine Cava’s office, local rents increased over 30% just in the last year, forcing the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners to pass legislation to require fair notice of rent increases for tenants and create for the first time a Tenants Bill of Rights. 

“We live in a nation now where one of the fastest-growing groups of people [in this country] is homeless people,” said Fudge, explaining that the U.S. has not invested enough resources into housing as it should have but admitting that there has been more support trickling in with this administration. 

To lower housing costs, Fudge said, there must be more affordable housing projects for low-income families and support from the federal, state, and local governments to make it happen.

Wilson and Levine Cava pointed to the Liberty Square Redevelopment Project as an example of bringing more housing options to Black communities while also building a thriving economy. 

Fudge revealed that the administration is prepared to request another $35 billion in federal funding to build more housing, in addition to the dollars provided through the American Rescue Plan. 

“We are working to do our part, but you have to do yours,” she said to leaders, explaining that some cities have not yet used up all its allocated funding to address the issue locally. “Don’t blow this opportunity. There are plenty of resources in [this] state [and] in your cities.