Miami, Fla. – At the epicenter of the nation’s affordable housing crisis, Miami-Dade County’s emergency rental assistance funding program just got a big boost from the federal government.

Miami U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson announced the U.S. Department of Treasury is allocating $11.7 million to help county residents who are struggling to pay their rent and mortgages.

“In these difficult times, it’s so rewarding to be able to see much needed help from the federal government come directly to our residents who have been struggling with the rising costs of housing,” said Wilson.

“Miami-Dade families are still hurting from the enormous economic disruptions of the pandemic. This funding will keep people in their homes, communities together, and help Miami-Dade residents make ends meet. I will continue fighting in Congress to bring more assistance and relief to families in need.”

Through this reallocation, Florida will receive more than $16 million in new funds to be distributed by counties across the state. Hillsborough County and Alachua County also received reallocations of $2.8 million and $1.8 million, respectively.

However, the vast majority of these funds are going to MiamiDade County for their Emergency Rental Assistance program.

Miami-Dade Mayor Levine Cava, who’s leading the charge to build more affordable housing throughout the county, applauded the federal government for its assistance.

In June, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge traveled to Miami-Dade County for a two-day visit during which she met with Wilson, Cava, and local leaders to discuss a variety of housing-related issues and tour local housing projects.

During the housing tour of South Florida, Fudge called MiamiDade “the epicenter of the affordable housing crisis.”

The latest federal funding will help Cava’s efforts to soften up the affordable housing crisis.

The mayor’s proposed $10 billion budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year invests over $500 million towards the retention and expansion of affordable housing which is a historic number for Miami-Dade.

Cava said about $45 million from the federal COVID-19 American Rescue Plan, will be used to develop one of the programs for affordable and workforce housing including subsidizing landlords charging affordable rents, and mortgage and rent relief for people struggling to pay rent.

Cava’s budget also proposes a 1 percent reduction to the county’s millage rate for property taxes to give struggling homeowners’ budget a break.

Through her Building Blocks Housing program, Cava already made over $13 million in federal money available for people struggling to pay their rent in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime, who also advocating for affordable housing throughout the county, said the federal money gives struggling residents hope.

Monestime sponsored legislation to create the first of its kind, Tenants Bill of Rights. Under the ordinance, tenants will now be able to avoid eviction if they use rent money to pay for repairs landlords have been neglecting.

Landlords must also provide the new bill of rights to tenants and details on Florida law banning landlords from shutting off utilities for non-payment of rent.