Public housing tenants trapped in parking lot after Hurricane Irma

Civic Towers residents pay rent, told to leave building

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter , Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI - With a shortage of affordable housing in Miami, leaving Section 8 subsidized housing isn't something the dozens of residents of the Civic Towers in Miami's Allapattah neighborhood are ready to do.

Some said they paid rent on time Sept. 1. They evacuated during Hurricane Irma, but when they came back, they couldn't get inside.

"We had paid our rent on the first (of the month)," a resident told Local 10 News. "They took it out on the 15th."

The residents said Redwood Housing Partners, the owners of the two buildings that the city has deemed unsafe, hasn't done anything to help them. They fear that if they go to shelters, they will end up living in the streets. 

With nowhere to go, the public housing residents have been sleeping in the parking lot of the Section 8 subsidized housing property. Among the residents suffering is a cancer patient, single mothers, several children and their pets. 

Nine hot days after the storm, some families were still sleeping in their cars. Some of them are seeking shelter under tents and umbrellas. The Lion's Club donated items to help them be a little more comfortable and representatives have talked to officials to try to get them help. 

The city of Miami is in talks with the federal Housing and Urban Development Department, but as of Wednesday morning they still didn't have a solution. 

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