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“The wages that are being paid have little bearing on a worker’s ability to pay that monthly rent, “said Dr. Edward Murray, associate director with the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University.

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Murray said affordable housing has become so scarce that rents are rising in places like Homestead. What’s worse, the county’s economy still hasn’t recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent Metropolitan Center report showed that Miami-Dade lost 134,459 jobs between February 2020 and June 2021, the majority in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

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No hard data shows newcomers are better positioned to afford higher rents than locals. Yet, while some out-of-staters are getting local jobs at income levels that have long lagged states like New York and California, it is likely not a majority, said Nika Zyryanova, research specialist at FIU’s Metropolitan Center.

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“[COVID] was the great accelerator,” said Ned Murray, associate director of the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University. “Given all the indicators — job loss, labor force, and housing costs — it’s created a situation where people have had to get up and leave, even more so than what we were seeing before COVID.”

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“Tech is really hurting Miami in terms of housing costs,” said Ned Murray, the director of the Florida International University Metropolitan Center. “We can’t talk about the economy without talking about housing, they’re so interrelated. ... What’s happening now is a hyper-level of gentrification. It’s unbelievable to see it happening so quickly.”

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Developed with researchers at FIU’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center, the Broward County Equity Initiative for the Urban League of Broward County and Hollywood-based Hispanic Unity of Florida will recommended actions for the county based on its findings.

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This all concerns Ned Murray, the director of the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University in Miami-Dade County. He and other experts are worried about the evictions that landlords have already filed in Miami-Dade courts. “These renters many of which work in our service sector economy just don’t have the money to pay their rent or their past rent so we are going to have an avalanche of evictions,” Murray said.

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“Affordable home ownership programs are just as important as affordable rental programs,” said Ned Murray, associate director of Florida International University’s Pérez Metropolitan Center, “though the need in Miami is greater for affordable rental housing.”

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But when the CDC program dies, barring a last-minute extension due to the new surge in COVID cases around the U.S., 188,000 “severely distressed” renters in Miami-Dade already paying more than half of their income on rent will be particularly vulnerable to eviction, according to Dr. Ned Murray, associate director of the Florida International University Metropolitan Center.

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“Equity and inclusivity is a national issue,” said Maria Ilcheva, of the FIU Metropolitan Center. “With our assistance and in collaboration, we are trying to find local solutions to a national problem for Boynton Beach.”

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