MIAMI (WSVN) – City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is recommending that a plan for a homeless camp made of tiny homes in the northern part of Virginia Key be put on hold.
Pausing the plan would require a vote from city commissioners.
“We are in part recommending to the commission a suspension of temporary shelters in Virginia Key,” said Suarez at a news conference, Monday, co-hosted with City Commissioner Joe Carollo.
Meanwhile, city leaders are asking for more help from the county.
“The City of Miami, for years, has become the dumping ground for Miami-Dade County,” explained Carollo.
The two announced that they will ask commissioners to approve putting the plan on hold for at least six months, giving the city time to study the plan more and explore possible camp sites outside of the city with the county’s help.
“We would like the county to help us with the burden of homelessness in terms of this site doesn’t have to be in Miami. Miami has two-thirds of the homeless population in Dade County, but only one-fifth of the actual population of Dade County, so we feel that it is an unfair burden for the city to have to take care of all the homeless without any help or without more help from Miami-Dade County,” said Suarez.
Carollo said the county needs to stop dumping released homeless inmates from all over the county into the city. He said the county needs to make sure beds are available in their shelters and to search for locations in the county for tiny home camps.
Over the weekend, Saturday, the plan to place a camp in Virginia Key prompted a protest.
“Does everyone here support protecting this park?” said a portester on a megaphone to cheers.
The group gathered with concerns about the environment and the loss of park space for families.
“This is not the place for any development at all,” said Esther Alonso, owner of Virginia Key Outdoor, “whether it’s a homeless encampment or a hotel or an other large structure.”
Miami-Dade County Daniella Levine Cava also has concerns. In a memo to the County Commission dated Aug. 4, she stated, “A transitional housing site far from basic services is likely to exacerbate the problem.”
So what’s next in the search for a solution?
“We want to work with the county,” Carollo said. “We’ve given them three key points, but if they don’t. We’ll take the adequate steps to make sure that our residents are protected and that the homeless people are treated with dignity and in a humane fashion.”
The city commissioners are expected to address the recommendation to postpone the Virginia Key tiny house plan in September.
We reached out to the Miami-Dade mayor for her response, and we were referred to the memo she sent to county commissioners last week.
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