MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In an effort to combat the housing crisis in Miami, on Thursday Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, along with city commissioners, announced they are working together to create more affordable options through two initiatives.

First, they’ll be helping relieve the burden of sky-high rents for some, through the city’s cryptocurrency, Miami Coin.

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“Today we’re not just making statements, we’re doing something about it,” said Suarez. “We are going to be allocating, and I’m proposing to allocate, $5 million from the Miami Coin money. The $5 million that we received in currency (will go) to our residents in the form of a housing assistance rental fund.”

Included in that fund, up to $1,000 in direct payments for a maximum of $6,000 over a six-month period. But not everyone is eligible.

“It will go to residents who have experienced rent increases of over 20 percent,” said Suarez.

In addition, you must have lived within the city for at least three years in order to have access to the money.

Commissioners Ken Russell and Manolo Reyes weighed in.

“We all know the rent is too damn high. In fact, the city of Miami is the least affordable city in the entire country,” said Russell.

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Commissioners say a portion of the money will also go to elderly people on a fixed income.

“Excess demand on housing has placed a tremendous burden, in particular, on young people and the elderly,” said Reyes.

Chairwoman Christine King also helped negotiate, putting $60 million toward a Little Haiti trust fund to create The Citadel Village Development, a housing complex with 96 affordable units.

“The residents who are facing gentrification now have an opportunity to keep living in their community in affordable decent housing,” she explained.

City leaders say the lack of affordable housing is a top priority of theirs.

“It’s a problem that predates this moment, but it’s a problem that’s been exacerbated because of a lot of things that are out of our control, like rapid inflation, excess government spending which has created an increase in rental prices across the country,” said Suarez.

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Commissioners will have to vote on this, though several of them have already verbally supported the proposal. It’s on the February 24th agenda.

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By MD Abdullah

Abdullah is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus Award-winning freelance writer who specializes in the scientific research behind irrational money behaviors. Her background in education allows her to make complex financial topics relatable and easily understood by the layperson. She is the author of four books, including End Financial Stress Now and The Five Years Before You Retire.

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