Watch CBS News

New senior affordable housing brings much-needed relief to South Florida

Affordable housing project Tucker Tower opens in Palmetto Bay
Affordable housing project Tucker Tower opens in Palmetto Bay 02:51

WEST PERRINE — Some much-needed relief Monday night to South Florida's affordable housing crisis: A new senior affordable housing community in West Perrine.

"It's truly about improving humanity and community here," said Miami Heat Legend and pro basketball hall of famer Alonzo Mourning.

He embraces this hometown mission.

"We have a shortage of 90 thousand affordable homes," emphasized Mourning.

Right here in Miami-Dade County.  His non-profit, AM Affordable Housing, teamed up with the county and the Housing Trust Group to create Tucker Tower.  Its 120 units provide affordable rents for seniors ages 62 and older. 

"Every time we develop one of these, we know we're tackling the statistics," Mourning added.

Rents range from $463 to just over $1,300 a month. Behind each number is a thankful resident.

"Whoa, whoa, check this out!" exclaimed a new Tucker Tower resident Georgina Milhet. "This is my favorite part."

Milhet shows off her views from her balcony.  It overlooks the pool. Six months ago, she had no idea how she could afford to live in Miami.

"I was dead inside," Milhet said. "I just laid in my bed worrying at night. It was emotionally very damaging for me, for my health."

She was diagnosed with breast cancer and is still undergoing treatment. The 66-year-old told us she had to retire to focus on her health while trying to find somewhere to live.

CBS News Miami's Joe Gorchow asked her what her budget was after she told him she had no savings left.

"My budget was $1,500 and that included everything," Milhet said. "How was I going to pay for food? How was I going to live?"

And take care of her loyal, precious companion Lucie.

"She wouldn't get off the bed to go eat or do anything because she knew I was sick," Milhet said about her sweet dog.

Now, the two live in an affordable housing senior community with a pool, stove, washer and dryer, and many more amenities.

"Forget about being in a five-star," said Milhet, emphasizing the wonderful conditions at Tucker Tower.  "I could afford it. My stress level has gone down."

So, she can fully focus on her recovery with the security of housing affordability. 

"People's rents have gone up 50% or more," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.  "We know if they can't [afford it], they'll either be living in a car or on a couch or on the street or in a shelter or they're leaving, which is hurting all of us."

Levine Cava says creating affordable housing is a priority, with 65 county-related projects in the works that will create over 8,400 units in Miami-Dade County in the near future.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.