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Veteran’s Richmond Heights Home Gets Long-Awaited Repairs

Air Force veteran Thomas Holton and his family were displaced from their home due to medical bills. Now, they get to come back home.

A South Florida Air Force veteran and his family can now go back home after being displaced for months.

Thomas Holton served in the Air Force and was diagnosed with cancer years ago. The bills for his treatment piled up, leaving him and his family unable to keep up with repairs to their home in Richmond Heights.

The home eventually became inhabitable, so Holton and his wife Theresa had to live with relatives for a few months.

With the help of Home Depot and local non-profit Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, that’s all changing.

“It really makes me feel happy, I don’t know what to say, can’t put it in words,” said Theresa Holton as she watched the team of volunteers paint the walls of her home.

Team Depot, the company’s volunteer task force, spent Friday morning repairing holes, painting the exterior of the home, cleaning up the property and updating the landscaping.

Thomas Holton says this project and renovation give him a sense of calm.

Busy Day for Better Homes

By Charlie Hudson | April 30th, 2021

Family man Rafael Granados never hesitated to tackle hard work. Married to Dora, his childhood sweetheart, they raised five children, know-ing grandchildren would someday be a new genera-tion. No one foresaw the stroke that put him in a wheelchair and affected so much of their lives. The routine repairs he once performed to maintain their house were among things he could no longer do. Hiring external help was a financial strain and every homeowner knows how unattended problems accumulate.

The Granados were among five Florida City families who were selected by Rebuilding Together, Miami Dade (RTMD), to receive critically needed repairs and renovations to their home. In one of their exchanges, Dora expressed a common issue. “When you live on a fixed income and have limited mobility, things start piling up easily. It’s hard to see your home decay, just like it’s hard to witness the decay of someone you love. Feeling helpless about it is the worst feeling of all.”

Help was very much on the way. Although a number of projects re-quired contractor support, Saturday, April 24, 2021 was the day when more than 100 volunteers pitched in to perform exterior tasks like painting and landscaping.

Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace made the rounds to once again express support for the part-nership they formed through the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). “This is one of my favorite programs offered by the City. It gives the chance for people who need a hand to get a helping hand from people with good hearts. Lots of donations involved. The City is a proud sponsor. It’s a situation of all wins. Sometimes government gets involved in some-thing that really works!”

In the words of Martina Spolini, RMTD Interim Executive Director, “No home-owner should have to forgo basic home maintenance in order to afford food or medications. Unfortunately, many factors such as job loss, disability, or expensive medical bills often force homeowners to make difficult choices about how to prior-itize a limited source of income to meet life’s many demands. Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade repairs and modifies homes for Miami-Dade County’s most vulnerable home-owners. Our efforts preserve affordable home-ownership, fight gentrification, stabilize com-munities, and ensure the safety and health of residents.”

James McCants, Community Outreach Coordinator, has been with the organization for several years. “The main purpose of Rebuilding Together is to provide those things like handicapped accessible bathrooms that let people stay in their houses.” Major renovations do involve professional contractors, yet those crews may also be augmented with extra labor. “We’ve been chomp-ing at the bit to get back out to doing volunteer work with Rebuilding Together,” Mike Murphy of Costal Construction said. “We’ve got over 20 volunteers from the company here today and had many more who wanted to come out.”

Anthony Shannon, who along with his son, J.R., had been work-ing beside the volunteers said, “I’ve been on this street for over 60 years and in this house for about 30 of those. My grand-mother left me this house and if she could see it today she would be so happy. They [Rebuilding Together] did a great job in fixing my bathroom and kitchen; I’m so grateful.”
For Pablo Zavala, despite decades of farm labor and then being with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, his long battle with polio eventually led to the need for a wheelchair. After his wife survived cancer, she suffered a stroke leaving her with paralysis. Even though one of their daughters lives with them, her husband is also disabled. Bringing the house into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) features involved multiple projects over a period of time as well as the one-day push. “I’m grateful for any help. The kitchen and floors but especially the bathroom changes to make it so much easier for me to use,” Zavala said.

By way of a brief history, the small organization that began in Midland, Texas in 1973 as, “Christmas in April”, grew far beyond the dreams of those first volunteers who designated April as a month to help bring urgent repairs to their community. In 1988 what was now a national movement became Rebuilding Together and Frank Mackle and Joseph Myrtetus established the Miami-Dade affiliate after the destruction of Hurricane Andrew. During the past two-plus decades, Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade (RTMD) has, “rehabbed over 1,000 homes and donated over 9 million dollars in market value work to the community.”

For more information, go to www.rebuildingtogethermiami.org ; Tel: (305) 200.5711; and find them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

Activists celebrate West Grove CRA approval

Activists celebrate West Grove CRA approval

West Coconut Grove
The landmark E.W.F. Stirrup House in the historically Black West Coconut Grove, built in 1897 by a Bahamian settler, is seen while under restoration for use as a bed and breakfast./Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

A community redevelopment agency tasked with providing affordable housing and economic development within West Coconut Grove was approved by the Miami City Commission Thursday.

Thelma Gibson, a former Miami City commissioner and a longtime West Grove activist, said the CRA is desperately needed in an area that is experiencing rampant gentrification.

Thelma Gibson
Former Miami City Commissioner Thelma Gibson/Via Facebook
“So many people who lived in Coconut Grove are now living in the south part of the county down in Homestead and Perrine, because there is nowhere for them to stay in Coconut Grove anymore that they can afford,” Gibson said at the March 25 Miami City Commission meeting. “If we could get a CRA, I believe it will be a savior for a part of Coconut Grove where some of our residents from the past can afford to live.”

Approximately 960 acres in size, the West Coconut Grove CRA was endorsed by the Miami-Dade County Commission in July 2020. However, an interlocal agreement between the City of Miami and the Miami-Dade County Commission still needs to be negotiated before the West Grove CRA is fully official.

West Grove is a historically Black community that can trace its origins to the 1870s, when Bahamian migrants settled in the area. In more recent years, speculators have constructed large and expensive white-box shaped homes in West Grove that some Coconut Grove residents claim violate city code.

Commissioner Ken Russell, whose district includes Coconut Grove and West Grove, has championed the creation of a West Grove CRA for at least four years. In previous media interviews, he said a CRA could help fund affordable housing projects in West Grove, assist low-income homeowners in repairing their homes and encourage small-business growth.

Ken Russel
Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell/Via Facebook

Initially, Russell campaigned for West Grove to be included in the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, thereby allowing a portion of the millions of dollars in property taxes collected in Omni to immediately flow into West Grove. That plan received support from the Miami City Commission in June 2019, but stalled due to opposition from Miami-Dade County Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson, whose district includes Omni. Edmonson felt the property taxes collected in Omni should be used to remove blight and slum that remained in the western parts of that CRA.

CRA
A map of the area that will be covered by the West Grove Community Redevelopment Agency, once the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County finalize an interlocal agreement./Courtesy of the City of Miami

When Miami City Commissioner Alex Díaz de la Portilla was made chairman of the Omni CRA in January 2020, he declared his intention to scrap the West Grove expansion plan and instead include Allapattah in the Omni CRA. Aside from a study, the Allapattah expansion has yet to occur.

Later in last Thursday’s commission meeting, Russell was renamed chairman of the Omni CRA, following a very public spat between commissioners Díaz de la Portilla and Joe Carollo.

Without Omni, the West Grove CRA will be able to collect $244,000 in property taxes in its first year said City Manager Art Noriega.

Soon after approving the West Grove CRA, the Miami City Commission also approved a zoning change for a property just under an acre at 3277 Charles Avenue. The zoning change for the land assemblage that is adjacent to the Coconut Grove Playhouse would enable the development of a pair of bed-and-breakfasts with a total of 45 rooms and at least one restaurant on the ground floor. The rezoned properties, referred to as the Stirrup Properties, are owned by a partnership that includes Pointe Group Investment Services and the family of longtime West Grove surgeon George Simpson. Under the terms of the rezoning deal, developers of the property will give $150,000 to the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, which will use the funds to help repair houses and apartments providing affordable housing within West Grove.

At least eight people voiced support for the rezoning at the meeting, including Gibson and Simpson.

“It will give jobs and … wages and will preserve the history and traditions of West Grove in conjunction of its historical significance,” Simpson promised.

Link to article on Miami Times Online

A Bahamian-style inn may go up around a Black Miami pioneer’s west Coconut Grove home

A Bahamian-style inn may go up around a Black Miami pioneer’s west Coconut Grove home

George Simpson, right, and his father, Dr. George Simpson, have restored the long vacant 1897 E.W.F. Stirrup House with the help of development partners. Now they plan to reopen the house as a bed and breakfast lodging establishment, and are also seeking a rezoning for lots they own across the street to build a companion Bahamian-style inn. MATIAS J. OCNER MOCNER@MIAMIHERALD.COM
BY ANDRES VIGLUCCI | MARCH 30, 2021 07:00 AM

The 1897 E.W.F. Stirrup House, one of Miami’s oldest standing homes and a once-endangered landmark in historically Black west Coconut Grove, is getting a new lease on life as part of a plan for a new Bahamas-style inn that just received an initial approval from Miami city commissioners.

The two-story wood-frame house, still owned by descendants of Bahamian-born pioneer settler Ebenezer Stirrup and recently painstakingly rebuilt, would be the historic centerpiece of what Stirrup-Simpson family members and their development partners are tentatively calling Grove Inn.

The plan has raised hope among longtime residents and activists concerned by rampant gentrification, demolition and population loss in the West Grove that people in the historic community, which predates the incorporation of Miami, can participate meaningfully in its revitalization.

“It will be a very useful project in the development of the West Grove,” Dr. George Simpson, the 96-year-old scion of the family, told Miami commissioners at a hearing Thursday. “There has been a stagnation in the development of the West Grove. I think we need to kick-start the development of West Grove. I think this project will do that. It will bring jobs, and it will preserve the history, traditions and culture of the West Grove.”

The planned inn would rise on a half-dozen lots, some long vacant, on historic Charles Avenue across from the Stirrup House and behind the long-shuttered Coconut Grove Playhouse. The lots, totaling nearly an acre, are owned individually by Simpson-Stirrup family members and Grove developer Peter Gardner, whose firm would build the inn with partner Gino Falsetto. Three existing homes would be demolished.
Separately, the project would also add a previously approved, two-story stand-alone building on the Stirrup House lot to provide more space and a kitchen for a bed-and-breakfast operation launched there last year.

The project aims to restore some of its original verve to Charles Avenue, which boasts several historically designated sites and buildings, including the Stirrup House, but today is pocked with vacant lots.

A zoning plan unanimously approved by city commissioners on Thursday contemplates three-story buildings with Caribbean-inspired architecture —required by guidelines in force in the neighborhood — and open gardens to blend with the look and feel of the historic street. Because the lots are designated for single-family homes, the commission needs to approve a rezoning to low-density commercial use. A second and final vote is expected in April.

Precise details and a final design for the inn, including the number of rooms, would come later, and would require approval by the city’s historic preservation board. The plan would prohibit residential uses and require underground parking. It also caps the number of rooms at 66 and overall height at 34 feet.

A companion agreement to the zoning plan gives priority to locals in hiring for construction and permanent jobs. It also would require the developers to make a$150,000 contribution to Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, a well-regarded nonprofit group that helps low-income families repair and renovate their homes, for use in the West Grove.

“It’s a reputable and legitimate organization, and they do an excellent job,” said Carlos Lago, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig who represents the Stirrup-Simpson family on the rezoning application.

The family’s longtime roots in the neighborhood and extensive outreach have helped gain substantial support for the project in the often-fractious West Grove.

After prolonged negotiations, the plan won support from the neighborhood’s principal residents’ group, the Village West Homeowners and Tenants Association, and the recently instituted Grove Rights and Community Equity group, or GRACE, which groups together churches, residents and activists. Some prominent West Grove figures, including former city commissioner Thelma Gibson, have also vocally favored the inn project.

A handful of neighbors objected, raising concerns over the impact of increased traffic and commercial development of the street.

But the projects backers say the inn would in fact return the street to its origins. Charles Avenues historic designation applies not to buildings on it but only to the narrow roadway itself, initially an unpaved street laid out by hand by Bahamian settlers and, to this day, not fully aligned on a straight line.

Though today mostly residential, Charles Avenue was originally known as Evangelist Street for its many churches, two of which remain active. It was also the business district in the early days of the Bahamian settlement, whose residents helped build Coconut Grove and Miami. It may also be the first commercial street in Miami-Dade County.

Stirrup, who came to Miami as a young man and trained as a carpenter, built his home and had a bike shop and rooming house across the street. In the evenings after his day job, Stirrup also built more than 100 wood houses in the growing community to sell and rent to fellow Bahamian immigrants; they were joined over the years by Black settlers from upstate Florida and Georgia. The family still owns numerous properties in the neighborhood.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to bring back a little life there,” said David Porter, a family member who manages their company, Stirrup Properties, in an interview. “This was my great-grandfather’s business area.”

Under a 2017 contract with the developers, the family will retain ownership and control of the properties and participate in the redevelopment project as joint-venture partners, Porter said. Their partners and investors are working on a financing plan for the inn, he said.

The Stirrup House, which stood vacant and deteriorating for years after the last family members moved out, was substantially rebuilt as part of the deal, retaining its historic look inside and out under the supervision of Miami architect Reinaldo Borges, who will also design the inn.

Borges said he used as much as possible of the original house wood and other materials, though much of it had to be faithfully reconstructed. The original floor plan, expanded by additions over the years, has been somewhat altered. The house has been outfitted with period-appropriate furnishings. The exterior, protected by the home’s landmark designation, retains its historic look, down to the white paint and light-yellow trim.

Falsetto, whose firm built the Grove Garden condos behind the home, has a long-term lease on the property. He and his partners launched the Strirrup House as a bed-and-breakfast just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Business has been fitful at best, Porter said.
But Porter and family representatives say they hope the inn will help extend the resurgent prosperity of the abutting Coconut Grove village center to the West Grove.

The Black-majority neighborhood was once cut off from its majority-white neighbor by legalized segregation. Stirrup, who died a wealthy man in 1957, wasn’t even allowed to attend the Playhouse, though he leased a parking lot to the theater’s owners, family members recall.
That legacy is still felt in a neighborhood that saw little successful private investment in decades but has lately seen an influx of luxury homes occupied mostly by white and white Hispanic families.

On the same day commissioners gave the initial nod to the Grove Inn proposal, they also approved creation of a community redevelopment agency for the West Grove. The agency, long sought by residents, would direct a portion of taxes generated by new development in the neighborhood to affordable housing and other revitalization initiatives.

“We have to support a good idea when we see it,” Jihad Rashid, a longtime West Grove affordable housing developer not involved in the project, told city commissioners of the Grove Inn. “This is well conceived. If we pass on it, something worse will come along. Let’s not defer a dream that’s long overdue.”

Black Lives Matter

 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and many Black men and womxn before them are proof that racism continues to pollute our nation. We are cycling through our feelings–outrage, anger, sadness–and examining how we can use our position in the community to fuel our emotions into actions that spur change. 

Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade’s ultimate goal is to create safe communities for everyone by providing free home and facility repairs. Through our services, we work every day to repair what is physically broken in our neighbors’ homes. We have seen first-hand what Black families have endured for living space. We recognize that systemic racism, like redlining, has made it considerably harder for Black folks to acquire the financial wealth necessary for a stable, healthy living environment. 

Enough is enough. Racism is an affordable housing crisis and it is time we break our silence, join discussions, and begin working together to repair what’s broken in our society. 

Today, Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade commits to being an anti-racist organization fighting against policies that allow for substandard housing, poor infrastructure, and injustice in Black communities. We will continue to fight gentrification by repairing homes, community centers, and small businesses in historically Black communities throughout Miami-Dade County. We will show up to community meetings and forums to fight for equality and hold our leaders accountable. We stand with our Black neighbors and pledge to lift up their voices and speak out against systems and policies that tolerate and support systemic racism and injustice. We pledge to include Black leaders and explore opportunities to partner with organizations and groups benefiting Black communities, facilitated by Black leaders. Furthermore, we will celebrate Black lives and Black culture by shopping at Black businesses, reading Black authors, studying Black history, and supporting Black artists.

We will listen, research, and examine ourselves in an effort to unlearn inherent racism. We commit to analyzing our policies, being thoughtful with our communication, and diversifying our team in an effort to be an organization promoting equity.We do not always know the right thing to say or do, but do know silence is the most deafening form of compliance that will only allow these atrocities to continue

We know we need to do better–we need to create a concrete plan of how we will achieve these commitments. This statement is the first step in a long journey. Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade’s team does not adequately represent the communities we serve. Our staff acknowledges we have work to do both externally and internally. This is just the beginning and we promise to include the community in our efforts. We invite you to join us in this journey and, furthermore, hold us accountable.

Black lives matter.

-Travis, James, Martina, Linda, and Ashley

P.S. If, like us, you are trying to learn more and be a better ally; our staff recommends these three books as a good place to start!

**These titles are available for a lower price with other retailers, however we linked to a small, Black-owned bookstore in Boynton Beach, FL. Please consider ordering through these links to support a Black-owned business. Thank you!**

  1. The Color of Law
  2. The Yellow House
  3. Race for Profit

Watch a video (or all three!) to learn more about redlining and how it has and continues to effect the Black community:

Click on this photo for a printable PDF download of Legal Services of Central New York’s Housing Segregation Timeline:

 

 

Frank Gore returns home to help neighborhood of West Coconut Grove

 

 

Frank Gore returns home to help neighborhood of West Coconut Grove

Frank Gore 2.jpg

Frank Gore with West Coconut Grove resident Mary Bryant, who knew Gore and his family growing up. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Mary Bryant, a long time resident of West Coconut Grove, remembers a young boy named Frank Gore walking to his youth football games at the nearby Armbrister Park.

Bryant lived right next door to the two-story apartment that Gore shared with his nine other family members.

“I remember him as a little boy going to the games,” Bryant said. “As the years went on, he was very good and his mom would take him to practice and his siblings would go watch them play. I remember his mom taking the bus, public transportation because they didn’t have any transportation at the time, to go watch him play.”

Gore attended Coral Gables High School from 1997 to 2000, where he broke several Miami-Dade county records, including rushing yards (2953) and touchdowns (34) and single-game rushing yards (419)

As one of the top ranked prospects coming out of high school, Gore had an offer to play as Mississippi, but at the time, Gore’s mother Liz was suffering from kidney disease as a result of a drug addiction. Gore chose to stay home and attend the University of Miami so he could help take care of his mother.

As a freshman at Miami, Gore earned his way onto the field and rushed for 562 yards. But in 2002, his sophomore year, the running back tore his ACL and missed the entire season. Gore rehabbed all year and played in the first few games of the 2003 season, only to tear his ACL again. But in the end, all that mattered was his senior year, where he led Miami in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.

Drafted in the third round with the 65th overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers, Gore spent 10 years as the team’s primary running back. In 2015, Gore signed a three-year contract with the Colts, where he moved into eight place on the all-time career rushing list. Gore spent the 2018 season with the Miami Dolphins, where he moved into fourth place on the all-time career rushing list despite not recording a single rushing touchdown for the first time in his career. This past year, Gore signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.

Throughout his 15-year NFL career, Gore has become one of the most successful running backs in history.

Frank Gore 3.jpg

In partnership with Rebuilding Together, Gore spent the week leading up to the Super Bowl in West Coconut Grove, helping repair nine homes and a barbershop. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Now, Gore is committed to giving back to the impoverished community he grew up in.

“I’m in a position to come back to my neighborhood and help people who I know, to do better in my neighborhood, to build better houses,” Gore said.

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Gore partnered with Rebuilding Together to give back to his hometown.

Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit that works to provide safe and healthy housing to communities across the country. For the past 25 years, Rebuilding Together has partnered with the NFL to help rebuild local neighborhoods in the Super Bowl host cities.

Gore spent the day with Bryant and other residents of West Coconut Grove and helped out with renovations to nine homes and two local community buildings. With the help of the local Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, the renovations have been in the works for a month.

“Its great having Frank out because he’s obviously a hometown boy who grew up a couple of block away from here,” said Travis Renville, the executive director at Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade. “Its just great to see him investing back into the community and just helping out in any way possible. It’s just really inspirational for Rebuilding Together and our volunteers and the community in general.

Frank Gore 7.jpg

Gore attended the University of Miami from 2001-2004, where he set numerous school records. Photo credit: Josh Halper

Gore explained that this project, and specifically the renovations to Bryant’s house, are special because Bryant knew his family and his mother, who passed away in 2007.

“Mary, I want to say I’m happy to be here. Thank you for letting me come in your home and thank you to Rebuilding Together,” Gore said. “I’m a happy man because she knows my mama. She knows my family. So, it was a blessed day today and I’m happy that y’all came to Coconut Grove.”

NFL Pro Bowler Frank Gore Joins 25th Annual ‘Kickoff to Rebuild’

 

 

NFL Pro Bowler Frank Gore Joins 25th Annual ‘Kickoff to Rebuild’

Rebuilding together, Lowe’s partner to repair homes for neighbors in need during Super Bowl

NFL pro-bowler Frank Gore will join Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, in partnership with Lowe’s, the Official Home Improvement Retail Sponsor of the National Football League (NFL), to provide critical repairs for nine homes in Miami’s West Coconut Grove neighborhood as part of Kickoff to Rebuild.

Kickoff to Rebuild is an annual Super Bowl-sanctioned event, which takes place in conjunction with the Super Bowl and is hosted by Rebuilding Together, a leading national housing nonprofit with a mission to repair the homes of people in need and revitalize communities. This year’s event will be led by the local nonprofit affiliate, Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade, which has served the county for over 25 years.

https://www.firstcoastnews.com/article/news/local/first-coast-living/lowes/77-4e6c2b66-086a-46bb-a6c1-023bef5f1ef5

We can reverse climate gentrification, keeping long-time residents from being displaced | Opinion

There is no doubt that concerns over sea level rise are propelling a westward shift in new development in Miami-Dade County. When we’re told that seashore properties will be subjected to an additional couple of feet of sea level, it is logical that inland properties will become more desirable. It’s a simple matter of math: Seaside elevations are typically at 3 feet above sea level, whereas Little Haiti, Overtown and Little Havana lie at 7 feet to 10 feet.

But, perhaps, another reason for the pressure to move west is simply that we’re running out of buildable land next to the ocean.

The question is not how to thwart market forces, but how to alleviate displacement of historic residents, including those who built historic neighborhoods in West Grove, Little Haiti, Overtown and Little Havana.

We can learn from what we’re doing in the West Grove and Overtown: I call it “Reverse Gentrification,” and it has the following parameters:

  1. As with the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, the most important factor to prevent displacement is to supply substantial economic incentives to existing residents and businesses. The funding mechanism of a community redevelopment agency is based on pledging future real estate taxes to borrow money for present capital projects. The Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA has been successful in that effort, producing bonds in excess of $100 million and redevelopment of similar magnitude.
  2. A lot of displacement happens when inner-city residents become disgusted with their neighborhood schools, parks and other amenities. What we have done in the West Grove is reverse those trends and pump government and private funds into after-school programs, beautification projects and affordable-housing initiatives that give people alternatives to cashing in on their increasingly valuable real estate. (For example, both elementary schools in the West Grove are now are Grade A schools for academic achievement.)
  3. Much of urban blight can be eliminated without displacing residents. In the West Grove, South Miami and Coral Gables, we have done that through funding mechanisms and non-governmental agencies such as Rebuilding Together and Habitat for Humanity, which tap into human capital and existing real estate so as to rehab rather than replace historic homes. More than 100 residential units, including four shotgun shacks and nine homes in the Lola B. Walker neighborhood, plus about 80 single-family homes in South Miami, have been renovated in this collaborative fashion.
  4. A lot of the success we have had in my district has been based on engaging organizations and property owners who are already there and empowered by their own investment. In the West Grove, we have been blessed with the entrepreneurial foresight of property owners like the Gibson Plaza ownership consortium and the owners of Grove United to Succeed (GUTS). We didn’t have to invent the people or provide capital for their acquisition of property. They did that themselves and rode out years of neglect until government began to pay attention to them and provide gap financing and other governmental incentives.

Reverse gentrification is not easy. And climate gentrification is not inevitable.

Enlightened government can use climate change to bring resources to bear in a way in which long-time residents not only are respected, but encouraged to stay and enjoy the comparative advantage of their geography.

Xavier L. Suarez represents District 7 on the Miami-Dade County Commission.