Friday, September 28, 2007
The deal announced today between Miami-Dade County and the federal government, finalizing short and long term control over Miami-Dade Housing Authority (MDHA), and the millions of dollars earmarked for low-income and subsidized housing, fails the needs of this community and is doomed to deepen the crisis of gentrification and low income housing for tens of thousands of people.
Once again the powers-that-be on the local and federal level have worked out a deal, through closed door negotiations, without the participation of, or regard for, those impacted by the policies and actions of MDHA and who will bear the brunt of this agreement. The beneficiaries of MDHA, including public housing residents, section 8 recipients, subsidized housing and former Scott-Carver residents, must be included in every step of the decision making process, including representation in court mandated mediation, the results of which could severely impact their lives.
More to the point, the agreement achieves the goals and needs of the two parties involved in the negotiation, but does not address the fundamental problem of the disconnect between the needs of low income people and the actions of government officials, local and federal.
Clearly, the feds achieved their objective of wresting temporary control over MDHA from the County. Conversely, the agreement secured the county's two main objectives: first, ensuring the feds do not sell any properties the county wants to sell, or give away to wealthy developers, themselves; and second, assuring that at the end of the process, power over MDHA, and it multi-million dollar budget, returns to the county and not to an independent trust or board, as is common practice throughout the United States.
The only entity which achieved none of their objectives- no local control, no clear end to public corruption and, most importantly, no change in public policy resulting in adequate amounts of low-income housing- are those in need of low-income housing and their supporters.
This community has been presented a false choice: either accept federal control over MDHA or allow the county, those responsible for the dis-function of the agency in the first place, to retain control. The only viable option, minimizing risk of public corruption and maximizing the opportunity to build adequate amounts of housing, is for community control over MDHA via an independent and autonomous Trust.
We demand community representation in every aspect of the hand-over and ultimate community control over MDHA. MDHA must be used to benefit the people, not political connected developers.
Take Back the Land
Miami ACORN board chair
Community Benefits Coalition