Equitable Development & Economic Inclusion
The community at the table
Problem - What we’re facing
Gentrification is erasing the essence of communities by displacing small business owners with rent increases and a lack of viable opportunities to own their long-term storefronts. This gradual displacement is eradicating Miami’s diversity and cultural neighborhoods.
Allapattah, one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, is located northwest of Downtown Miami near several neighborhoods that have seen rapid change and growth in recent years. Considered a melting pot of residents from the Caribbean and Latin America, the neighborhood has seen increases in home values and rents that have outpaced income growth since 2000. There is a growing demand for real estate in the area fueled by sea-level rise reports, investor speculation, and gentrification pressures in nearby neighborhoods. Although we encourage development and investments, we want to ensure it happens in an equitable manner where the residents who have invested so much into these neighborhoods partake in the decision making, wealth building and transformation of their communities.
Small businesses are ill-equipped to navigate these pressures. There is minimal business and financial training for businesses in the neighborhood; many face barriers to accessing financial resources; and Miami lacks policies and programs to help protect them.
Solution - What we’re doing about it
We are implementing a well-funded holistic community development strategy that includes comprehensive community engagement, actionable equitable development practices, wealth building programs and policy advocacy to enhance economic development, protect vulnerable communities and support long-standing businesses and residents. In order for vulnerable communities to prosper, equitable development needs to be at the heart of the community development process. The community’s shared vision is to have a safe, inclusive, engaged, and intergenerational mixed-income neighborhood with spaces, opportunities, and resources where residents of all economic classes and backgrounds can live, learn, work, play and thrive.
Action Plan Goals:
Goal #1 – Make them Resilient: Establish the infrastructure and processes for implementing inclusive equitable community development. For example, fund educational programs, financial products, technical assistance and anchor institutions connections to increase small business efficiency, revenue growth and capacity.
Goal #2- Make them Sustainable: Prevent Displacement of Existing Small Businesses. For example, boost ownership by establishing pathways for business owners to purchase their storefront through the Commercial Community Land Trust program.
Goal #3 – Build Legacy: Boost Cultural Economic Development with Commercial District Revitalization Strategies. For example, fund a Main Street commercial revitalization program, which advocates for the commercial district and connects small businesses to grants, loans, and professional advice.
These are just a few examples, for more information see our complete report, 17th Avenue – Allapattah: An Equitable Development Action Plan for Thriving Commercial Districts.
Impact - What we’re accomplishing
Our efforts guarantee stronger economic development practices in disenfranchised communities. Our goal is to revive the local micro-economy and boost our neighborhood commercial districts.
We preserve vulnerable cultural communities of color by implementing best practices to prevent displacement, build wealth, increase community participation in the community development process and highlight the community’s history and uniqueness. We empower, educate, increase community-based ownership, expand services available and support the fabric that knits the community together.
Our goal is to protect and strengthen the identity, charm and cultural appeal of our neighborhood and other communities of color by ensuring long term residents are able to thrive in an environment plagued with disparities, misinformation and disinvestment. Over the past year, we have worked with the community to develop a strategic plan.
Our strategies focus on collaboration, education and hand-on-hand coaching to strengthen individuals, small micro businesses and the community. These are some best practices that we have identified to improve our neighborhood.
We are collaborating with various entities to implement several shared equity models, including a commercial community land trust. We are working with local officials to implement Legacy Business programs and commercial lease to own programs.
We educate the community on wealth-building strategies, facilitate the implementation of Main Street Strategies and establish business Incubators to support wealth creation. We collaborate with key institutions to enhance financial capacity and micro-business coaching.
We work with anchor institutions to promote equitable development practices and collaborate with our steering committee and advisers to develop a comprehensive commercial revitalization strategy.
We Provide key recommendations to Miami Dade County and the City of Miami to support community protections and anti-displacement strategies. We also advocate for policies that foster small business preservation and legacy business support.