Tuesday, June 12, 2007
for immediate release
contacts: Denise Perry: 305-491-7764
Community to Manny Diaz:
There is a crisis in housing
Community responds to Diaz' contention that there is "no crisis in housing"
Low-income residents, activists and community organizations are holding a press conference to protest the City of Miami's housing policies and gross corruption in the arena of low-income housing development. In addition, community members are set to respond to Miami Mayor Manny Diaz's opinion piece, recently published in the Miami Herald, titled "There is no crisis in housing." The press conference, organized by the Power U Center for Social Change, is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, 2007, at 11:00am in front of Miami's City Hall, located at 3500 Pan American Drive in Coconut Grove. Participating organizations include Umoja Village's Take Back the Land, the Miami Worker's Center, ACORN and Jobs with Justice.
In his piece, Diaz minimized the scandals detailed in recent media articles and dismisses the impact of this corruption on the poor. In spite of Miami's status as the least affordable city in the nation, Diaz contends there is "absolutely not" a crisis in housing. Not surprisingly, Diaz is the darling of big money developers and the frequent target of low-income people and housing advocates. Howard Watts, long time Miami resident, and member of Power U, who is living the housing crisis says, "I couldn't find any place to live. Not even a shelter would take me because they are over crowded or because of my disability. Manny Diaz needs to walk in my shoes for a day."
Activists demand Manny Diaz publicly admit that there is a housing crisis and take steps, along with City Commissioners, to concretely address the crisis by committing funds to build low-income housing, ending public corruption by the administration and ending public subsidies of luxury condos, such as the proposed the Crosswinds condos in Overtown. "Manny Diaz' disregard for the peoples reality in the city of Miami in order to protect his own image and profit is a crime," contends Denise Perry, executive director of the Power U Center for Social Change.
During a time of record housing prices and construction of high rise luxury condos in Miami, many projects with the personal blessing of Manny Diaz, and huge profits on the part of developers, over 41,000 families are on the Miami-Dade County housing assistance wait list. The local housing market has been seen as a boom for developers and a serious crisis for the poor and the majority of Miami's residents. Diaz himself is a developer and is not on the housing assistance wait list.
"Manny Diaz and his friends have all gotten rich from government subsidized development," says Max Rameau of Take Back the Land. "For them, there has been no crisis. He is the mayor of the rich and out of touch with the suffering of poor people."