People experiencing homelessness have unique needs and none more so than the senior citizens of our community. Due to their age, health and risk profile, combined with income constraints and lack of extremely low-income housing, homelessness for seniors can be a death sentence. Mia Casa, a facility newly acquired by Miami-Dade County, through the Homeless Trust, is now providing a critical safety net for 120 older adults experiencing homelessness who are 65+ and helping them bridge to other permanent housing in the community. Mia Casa’s official grand opening occurred on March 31, 2023.
“An 80-year-old homeless woman sexually assaulted on the streets…and 92-year-old retired physician who was a victim of identity theft. Sadly, these are just a few of the stories behind those who find themselves at Mia Casa,” said Ron Book, Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust . “People with heartbreaking experiences are housed here. In fact, more than 600 seniors have passed through Mia Casa’s doors since we began operating at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. We knew right way that we needed to make Mia Casa a permanent part of the homeless continuum care.”
The Trust celebrated the acquisition of Mia Casa with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Oliver G. Gilbert, III, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Marleine Bastien, North Miami Mayor Alix Desulme and Vice Mayor Mary Estimé-Irvin, Florida Senator Ileana Garcia, Homeless Trust Chairman Ronald L. Book and Executive Director Victoria L. Mallette, Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Development Interim Director Clarence Brown and others. Residents of Mia Casa sang alongside the Shanandoah Magnet Middle School Orchestra and the Mia Casa Family Tree was unveiled, created with the with handprints of residents and dignitaries.
“It’s Mia Casa Day!” exclaimed North Miami Vice Mayor Estimé-Irvin as she presented the Homeless Trust team with a “Mia Casa Day Proclamation” to complement a Certificate of Congratulations presented by Mayor Levine Cava, Chairman Gilbert, and Commissioner Bastien.
“With the help of $5 million in HOME American Rescue Plan funds, we were able to buy and begin renovations on this facility,” said Mayor Levine Cava. “My administration, with the support of Chairman Gilbert and members of the Board of County Commissioners, made a $25 million commitment to the Homeless Trust to get new units into the pipeline for people experiencing homelessness. That investment has spurred investments from others, including the cities of Miami, Miami Beach and the State of Florida. The key to ending homelessness is housing, and I look forward to continuing to scale up housing options for extremely vulnerable persons experiencing homelessness in our community.” An additional $1.75 million in funding was provided by the State of Florida with support from Sen. Garcia and Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, along with $40,000 from Simply Healthcare Plans.
On April 24, 2020, in preparation for and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Homeless Trust began operating Mia Casa as a quarantine and isolation site for older adults experiencing homelessness who were at high risk of serious illness from the virus. On January 31, 2023, the property was acquired by the Trust.
Mia Casa is the first of at least four property investments the Trust is making to help expand the supply of extremely low income housing for persons experiencing homelessness in Miami-Dade County. The acquisition and development campaign will house no fewer than 550 households.
One in four persons entering the homeless continuum of care is over the age of 55. The Homeless Trust has partnered with The Miami Foundation to establish the Ending Homelessness Fund. To learn about Mia Casa volunteer opportunities, contact Giselle Porras at 305-305-8361.