CORAL GABLES, Fla., Sept. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Affordable housing is a growing concern in South Florida, and the University of Miami's Office of Civic and Community Engagement and Florida International University's Metropolitan Center have joined forces to tackle the issue.
With long-standing expertise and interest in South Florida's housing affordability, the two university centers have formed the South Florida Housing Studies Consortium (SFHSC) to further research and develop data-driven strategies that promote affordable housing for low and moderate-income residents and young professionals who have been forced to move away from expensive employment centers. The consortium will leverage UM's and FIU's current efforts and generate new areas of collaboration with community partners. The SFHSC will provide thought leadership on policies and programs that address housing affordability as a critical element of an urban community.
"Local communities are increasingly looking for solutions such as the creation of more location-efficient communities characterized by mixed-use, mixed-income, transit oriented development; the preservation of existing affordable housing through refinancing and rehabilitation; and the development of policies that support affordable rents," said Robin Bachin, assistant provost for Civic and Community Engagement at UM. "We believe the time is right for a university collaboration that works with local community organizations and policymakers to make housing affordability a priority," Dr. Bachin continued.
The first initiative of the consortium will be a project with the Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development department. The SFHSC will provide guidance and document the community engagement process for the revitalization of the Liberty Square housing development, an ambitious project that seeks to transform the second oldest public housing project in the nation. Areas of focus include improving the quality of housing units, increasing the amount of affordable housing available, and creating a park-oriented, mixed-use, accessible, mixed-income community.
"We are excited to create a new forum for cutting-edge research and technical assistance that promotes the development of local policies and programs that address housing issues and exemplify holistic community development principles," said Ned Murray, associate director of the Metropolitan Center at FIU. "Housing affordability is a critical element of an economically and socially vibrant urban community, and by joining forces with the UM Office of Civic and Community Engagement, we will be able to better address our community's needs,"
The Florida International University Metropolitan Center is an applied research and training institute in the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. It provides policy solutions to public, private and non-profit organizations in South Florida. Established in 1997, the Metropolitan Center has an impressive track record of providing quality services to communities through various social science research studies including economic development plans, housing needs assessments, community indicator studies, economic impact analyses, surveys and focus groups. In addition, the Metropolitan Center has organized workshops, conferences and retreats as well as public opinion forums to address specific urban issues.
The University of Miami Office of Civic and Community Engagement is a university-wide office that fosters collaboration by engaging the university's academic resources in the enrichment of civic and community life. Through our Focus on Affordable Housing initiative and our collaborations with several university and community partners, we have developed a number of innovative programs such as training for emerging leaders in affordable housing; MAP | Miami Affordability Project, an on-line interactive map of housing-related data; and public programs featuring national and local experts on housing and community development.
SOURCE University of Miami