Miami’s affordability challenges have been well documented. We’re ranked one of the costliest places to rent a home in the U.S. and residents spend more on living expenses than in most cities.
As tough as it is to rent a place to live, imagine being homeless – without a job, without a support system and without a place to call home.
While Miami has made important strides toward reducing homelessness over the years, a February 2016 headcount found that the number of homeless individuals County-wide totaled 4,235, by comparison with 4,152 one year prior.
One factor that may be contributing to this trend is the fact that it’s getting harder and harder to build shelters and affordable housing in South Florida as development costs rise and funding streams are depleted.
Rest assured, there’s good news on the way – particularly for our most vulnerable neighbors: women and children living on the streets.
Lotus House, Miami’s only shelter and service provider exclusively targeting homeless women and children, will begin construction of a new state of the art shelter in Overtown this week. The facility, named Lotus Village, will nearly double the nonprofit’s impact, housing up to 490 guests at a time.
This isn’t any ordinary shelter. Lotus Village will be a national model for helping to transition people out of homelessness, featuring a wellness center offering massage and acupuncture, a community health and dental clinic, a teaching kitchen where guests will prepare for work in food service, and much more. Development of the building begins this Friday and is expected to be completed by Christmas 2017.
Best of all, Lotus Village will be developed without City dollars. So how’s all of this coming together against the backdrop of diminished funding for shelters?
The answer lies in the generosity of donors and businesses supporting the Lotus Village Sustainability Campaign, which is setting out to raise $25 million to ensure the shelter’s long-term future.
$25 million in private funds may sound like a lot of money (and it is), but Lotus House is taking a smart approach to fundraising. Beyond soliciting major gifts, grants and corporate sponsorships, they’ll also be launching a crowdfunding campaign that allows businesses and individuals to adopt a dorm room for $50,000 that can be donated or raised over a five year period. In other words, it takes a village!