Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Issues in the Affordability of Communities in Miami-Dade County

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Zhayda Reilly, Florida International University
Research indicates that nationally, the locations with low-cost housing are limited, in most cases, to areas remote from transportation options, employment centers and other amenities. As result, households that live in affordable housing have higher transportation costs than the area's average. In these cases, the money saved in shelter costs is spent in transportation, thus, decreasing affordability and increasing cost burdens for households.  

A location's remoteness is associated with long distances to jobs and retail services, and the limited access to transportation options (such as public/mass transit). Thus, higher transportation cost as households in these areas have higher number of vehicles, travel more miles per year, and take less transit trips when compared to other households in other locations in the region. 

Thus, the traditional or standard definition of affordable housing is limited, as only housing costs are taken into account, yet, transportation is the second budgetary expense for households. Therefore, the development of affordable housing delivery policies and strategies at locations should  examine and address both housing and transportation challenges. Some of the approaches to reduce the combined costs of housing and transportation focus on the preservation and development of affordable housing near existing and planned transit stations, job centers, and in places with low transportation costs. These comprehensive approaches address area needs in the availability and accessibility to affordable housing in order to improve transportation options and lower household cost burdens.

Along these lines, this study examines family household dynamics resulting from a location's affordability focusing on  the association between housing and transportation costs at 65 U.S. Census communities in Miami-Dade County. These associations are highlighted though an analysis of Block Group data gathered from the HUD Location Affordability Portal (version 2) for median-income family households. This study analyzes 36 independent variables provided for median-income family households.

The findings indicate that overall Miami-Dade County is cost burdened, yet, the percentage of housing and transportation costs differ between locations based on the dynamic of several factors such as income, type of units available, and density. For instance, units to accommodate households with various incomes and family sizes, and employment opportunities are not distributed equally across the county. Furthermore, the supply of affordable housing, particularly units to accommodate family households, is clustered and limited to areas remote from transportation options and access to jobs and other important amenities. Remoteness raises the transportation costs and cost burdens for households that live in the existing supply of affordable housing. 

The recommendations advocate for comprehensive strategies developed and implemented at the municipal and county levels of local government to create effective and sustainable responses to housing needs. Miami-Dade County could address location affordability challenges through the development of strategies encouraging the involvement of each community towards their improvement and that of the whole county by coordinating land use, housing and transportation needs, housing assistance programs.