Miami plans to move homeless to ultra-rich area on island, sparking criticism
Miami approved a plan to move the homeless to a historic barrier island, just a stone’s throw away from ultra-wealthy areas like Fisher Island and Key Biscayne, where celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Mel Brooks, and Derek Jeter have lived.
City of Miami commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of building a homeless camp on Virginia Key pic.twitter.com/tpo7RCaOPp
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) July 29, 2022
The plan is to build tiny homes on the North Point Part section of Virginia Key beach, creating a new enclave for the homeless. Multiple reports say residents of Miami-Dade County’s seventh district and a variety of interest groups are unhappy with the developments.
According to the Daily Beast, those who enjoy the outdoors are concerned the encampment will hinder their activities. Environmentalists have a similar concern, claiming that suddenly introducing the encampment to the fragile ecosystem will be massively harmful.
Even homeless advocates decried the plan. Esther Alonso, the owner of Virginia Key Outdoor Center, told WSVN-TV.
“You’re taking the chronically homeless, shelter resistant population, bringing them to an isolated area, removing them from everything they know, providing only mobile services and pretty much isolating them on an island two miles from the nearest roadway,”
The island is also home to a top-rated public high school and is 6-miles away from the nearest grocery store.
On a District 7 zoom chat townhall, comments became emphatically negative.
“Are the homeless that are going to be housed illegal immigrants, or are we first going to house homeless US Citizens?” one resident wrote, “if we’re putting tax dollars to not even take care of US citizens, then we need to refocus altogether.”
Another commenter predicted the homes would be available on Airbnb in no time.
Another viewer kept it simple “Bad, bad idea. Bunch of dummies.”
Amid the fury, Key Biscayne Mayor Michael Davey has indicated that he does not believe the plan will ultimately go through, but what will actually happen remains to be seen. If the project is enacted, one Facebook commenter summarized the results best.
“Well there goes Virginia Key. Imagine seeing a homeless encampment from your house.”