“It took a lot of patience to get here,” stated Mayor Joseph L. Kelley” during a Magnolia North Housing Redevelopment Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, April 22, 2010, where representatives from Habitat for Humanity met with City Officials, residents and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who praised the Mayor and members of “THIS Commission” for their persistence and stick-to-itiveness through a timely process which was delayed by Federal regulations approval, administrative changes, HUD intervention, misplaced paperwork and appeal procedures that deferred the overdue and long awaited redevelopment of the area in the City of Opa-locka, formally known as “The Triangle,”
Genuinely “excited about what is about to take place,” and equipped with inquiries about qualifications and low-interest loans, residents of Magnolia North, in record numbers, crammed the Town Hall Meeting at the Cultural Arts Building, 2105 Ali Baba Avenue, to learn more about the City’s commitment to making homeownership a viable reality within their own neighborhood.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian ministry that builds homes and communities in partnership with low-income families. It provides affordable homeownership opportunities with low monthly payments (30% of income) and 0% interest loans. Representatives stated that Habitat for Humanity, “Engages people of conscience within our community to provide volunteer and financial support to accomplish goals.”
Members of the Opa-locka City Commission issued high praises to County Commissioner Jordan who they credit for spearheading the project and for helping get much needed dollars from the County to The City of Opa-locka. “Redevelopment is not just for public housing, but also for the land and property, so that we can have a comprehensive look,” remarked Jordan.
“Planning for the area requires unity and vision,” said Mayor Kelley as he went on to reveal that this project happened in part because “65 youth and Pastors united as a body and decided, ‘We want better!’”
According to Carla Garcia, Outreach for Habitat for Humanity, “The first step in applying for a home is to getting information.” She promised that once an application is submitted, “We have 30 days to get an answer back to you…we let you know the situation.” The guidelines for applying for a Habitat home include, being at least 18 years old, having a two-year work history, a yearly income with a combined minimum of $21-22 thousand, or a maximum income of less than $53, 900 dollars, for a typical family of four. “In our office,” Garcia remarked, “we speak English, Spanish and Creole. We work with you, to get you buyer-ready."
Jerry Bass, Director of Construction, concluded that each application is viewed on a “case by case” analysis, not based on credit score. He echoed Garcia, “Even if you have a disability…We work with you!”
Commissioner Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson commented forcefully, “The barricades, that should not have been there, were removed.” She declared, “Enough is enough, we have to take back our streets.” Vice Mayor Myra Taylor urged residents to “get excited… have new attitude.”
For information, on Habitat for Humanity, call 305 634-3628, or visit the office at 3800 N.W. 22 Avenue, Miami, Florida, where copies of the completed application can also be mailed. Interested parties may also go on line to miamihabitat.org.