A cursory glance at the names that have made the biannually selected Miami Herald’s Business Roundtable will reveal a wide variety of expertise. A closer inspection showcases industry leaders, many of whom have taken up some of the most difficult challenges that the State of Florida and the City of Miami have ever faced.
One of those names is Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, who is president and CEO of Carrfour Supportive Housing. According to Miami Herald reporting, the organization is Florida’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable and supportive housing and Berman-Eisenberg oversees all aspects of development, financing and operations.
The need for affordable and supportive housing impacts populations throughout the United States and Canada. There are mounting concerns about homelessness after the economic impacts on many households following the global pandemic. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress was recently released, which highlights problem areas.
Over 580,000 people were counted as homeless during 2020, which represents “the fourth consecutive annual increase in homelessness,” according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
The nonprofit pointed out that the count actually took place before the outbreak of the pandemic in the United States.
“As such, the findings shed light on a homelessness system that was overburdened and under–resourced long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced economic disruption and housing crises on households nationwide,” according to the organization’s post.
Chronic homelessness increased 15% and unsheltered homelessness by 7%, per the report. Vulnerable populations like veterans, entire families and minorities saw marked increases in the likelihood of homelessness.
From Los Angeles, to Chicago, to Colorado Springs, San Francisco, and Portland, leaders of large cities have been struggling with how to help the growing population of homeless.
Meanwhile, Miami has become a shining beacon of hope in the fight against homelessness. According to Miami Herald reporting, Carrfour Supportive Housing is Florida’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable and supportive housing that includes more than 20 residential communities and provides homes for more than 10,000 formerly homeless people. A brainchild of the Homeless Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Carrfour has reportedly invested over $300 million toward ending homelessness since its inception in 1993.
“Carrfour develops, operates and manages innovative housing communities for individuals and families in need through a unique approach combining affordable housing with comprehensive, on-site supportive services,” according to the website.
An additional five hundred residences are being created.
Carrfour is actually French for “Crossroads,” and that is just what the housing and help has meant for many residents – they were able to find a new and better path.
“I am now able to see hope in every aspect of my life. I am off the street and grateful,” one resident said.
Entrepreneur George Scorsis says this is a remarkably innovative approach to a systemic problem in North America.
“Miami was proactive in many ways while some communities are now being forced to be reactive,” George Scorsis said. “What they have created is a powerful example of what a few like minded people with the right financial backing can accomplish when they decide to be effective – to make a difference,” Scorsis added. “Leaders in both the public and private sectors saw a need and decided to create a partnership. I believe that is commendable in every way.”
The collaboration has included nonprofit organizations and for-profit developers who have assembled hundreds of millions of dollars in financing, tax credits and subsidies to create affordable housing options across Miami-Dade County, and positively impacting thousands of lives in the process, according to the organization website.
Published by Irfan Haider