Keep Safe Miami

Program Overview

In February 2021, Enterprise Community Partners and the City of Miami, Florida released Keep Safe Miami, a set of tools aimed at owners and operators of affordable multifamily housing properties in Miami-Dade County. The tools can help property owners identify potential adaptation actions to increase the resilience of existing affordable housing to local climate change hazards, including sea-level rise and extreme weather events. Owners and operators of affordable housing units can use Keep Safe Miami’s resources to compare climate-related risks, prioritize adaptation strategies, and access local, state, and federal funding sources.1 As part of the program, the City of Miami also set aside $500,000 in deferred loans for owners and operators participating in the Keep Safe Miami program.

The Miami area includes many of south Florida’s 43,000 multifamily affordable housing units and is vulnerable to increasing climate-related hazards, including sea-level rise and extreme weather events.2 Adapting affordable units to these climate threats can minimize displacement and other costs disproportionately borne by low-income and other frontline communities. 

There are also economic goals served by proactively adapting housing to climate-related hazards. In 2020, the Urban Land Institute estimated that every $1 spent on building-level hazard mitigation in Miami-Dade County can prevent $5 in future disaster recovery costs.3 

Keep Safe Miami is aimed at owners and operators of multifamily housing buildings with units that are affordable for households making 80 percent or below the median income in Miami-Dade County.4 The overall goal of the program is to inform and encourage proactive building adaptation actions by residents and property investors so homes are more resilient to climate change and disaster threats.

 

Keep Safe Miami Toolkit

Keep Safe Miami has four main program components: Portfolio Protect, Building Protect, Funding and Finance Guide, and a tenant training program currently in development. Program capacity is limited and property owners interested in participating are required to fill out an enrollment form with property-specific information. Accepted program enrollees will have access to Portfolio Protect, Building Protect, and training on how to use these tools. In contrast, the Funding and Finance Guide and other technical and business guides are available to the public on Keep Safe Miami’s webpage. Regardless, Portfolio Protect, Building Protect, and the Funding and Finance Guide are designed to be used together to grow the climate and disaster resilience of affordable housing units.

This timeline provides a sequenced overview of how participants in Keep Safe Miami can use the program to increase climate change resilience. More detailed descriptions of Keep Safe Miami tools are provided below. 


1. Portfolio Protect: The Portfolio Protect tool allows owners and operators of affordable multifamily housing units to compare the climate and disaster risks of properties in their real estate portfolio. When users enter the address of one or more properties into the Portfolio Protect tool, the tool provides the user with a Total Risk Score for each property, as well as risk scores for specific hazards. Based primarily on data from federal agencies, Total Risk Scores range from 0–96 and represent a property’s overall risk to various environmental hazards. Hazard Risk Scores range from 0–5 and represent a property’s risk to individual hazards, such as flooding, sea-level rise, extreme wind, and extreme heat. The Total Risk Score is equal to the sum of the individual Hazard Risk Scores multiplied by a Social Vulnerability Index score, which represents the likelihood of a hazard occurring in the local community and the community’s ability to respond.

Example of the interface in Keep Safe Miami’s Portfolio Protect tool, which owners of affordable housing properties in Miami-Dade County can use to compare environmental hazard risks between properties.

Users of the Portfolio Protect tool are encouraged to create a mitigation strategy informed by risk scores that are generated by the tool. By comparing different properties’ risks side-by-side, owners and operators of affordable housing units can identify priorities for risk mitigation and begin developing approaches tailored to different buildings’ vulnerabilities. The Portfolio Protect also includes a user guide that hosts supplemental resources, including technical guides, databases, and federal funding sources. 

2. Building Protect: After identifying higher-risk properties with the Portfolio Protect tool, affordable housing owners and operators can use the Building Protect tool to generate diagnostic reports and specific recommendations for how to adapt particular buildings. This process begins with conducting a site evaluation for each property and filling out a building questionnaire with information about that property. After a building questionnaire is submitted and cleared by an Enterprise Community Partner quality manager, a report is automatically generated within 48 business hours. Building Protect reports include building-specific assessments of climate and environmental disaster risks, such as flooding, extreme wind, and energy resilience. The reports also suggest actionable strategies to address each risk identified. The Building Protect tool includes a user guide with supplemental resources for technical and financial assistance. 

Building Protect reports are not intended to be prescriptive; rather, they are intended to identify and inform potential responses to address or mitigate existing climate vulnerabilities. Owners and operators of affordable multifamily homes can use the reports to make more informed decisions and start conversations with the relevant experts to consider and implement different resilience strategies. 

To help property owners and operators understand and implement mitigation priorities, Keep Safe Miami’s toolkit also includes a Hazard Strategies Guide, a technical document to help property owners understand environmental risks and mitigation strategies. The Hazard Strategies Guide organizes mitigation strategies into a table, with each potential strategy accompanied by an explanation and the relevant hazards mitigated. Each mitigation strategy also includes that strategy’s relative cost, criticality, and complexity, which can help property owners plan specific action items to implement mitigation priorities identified with Portfolio and Building Protect. By highlighting these key considerations, the Hazard Strategies Guide is intended to serve as an information and decisionmaking aid for owners and operators of affordable housing properties. The Hazard Strategies Guide is accessible to the public.

3. Funding and Finance Guide: The Funding and Finance Guide is a catalogue of potential funding resources that are currently available — or will be made available within a year — to owners and operators of affordable multifamily properties in Miami-Dade County. The guide includes grants, loans, and incentives administered at all levels of government, and spotlights two funding sources in particular, the Miami Forever Bond and the Keep Safe Miami Loan Program (detailed below). Funding sources are listed in a table with information on the type of funding, the administering entity, eligible uses, and where to apply. Additionally, the Funding and Finance Guide provides financial planning advice and case studies that illustrate resilience measures taken by two Miami-Dade affordable housing companies.

The Funding and Finance Guide highlights two local funding sources: the Miami Forever Bond and Keep Safe Miami Loan Program. 

  • Miami Forever Bond: The Miami Forever Bond is a bond program where a total of $400 million will be invested in five categories of activities: Sea-level Rise and Flood Prevention, Roadways, Parks and Cultural Facilities, and Public Safety and Affordable Housing. Of that $400 million, $100 million will be invested in building and adapting affordable housing units to be more environmentally resilient. Interested parties can apply for funding via the City of Miami’s Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
  • Keep Safe Miami Loan Program: The City of Miami initially dedicated $500,000 in loans specifically for participants in the Keep Safe Miami program to increase participation through financial incentives. To qualify, interested recipients must enroll in Keep Safe Miami and complete required training. Recipients can receive up to $100,000, with loans deferred for ten years and forgiven if their property continues to be occupied by low-income households. The $500,000 loan pool is set aside from Miami’s Community Development Block Grant, a federal grant disbursed to state and local governments by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Community Development Block Grants are intended to expand affordable housing and economic opportunities. State and local governments have flexibility in determining how grant funding is used to achieve these goals.)

4. Tenant Training: Although not yet available, free tenant trainings on disaster preparedness, energy efficiency, and cost savings are in development as part of the Keep Safe Miami program. Trainings will be conducted by Communities United, Dream in Green, and the City of Miami Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Team. 

 

Related Resources by Enterprise Community Partners

Keep Safe Miami was developed as part of Enterprise Community Partners’ Emergency Management program, a broader set of toolkits designed to support owners and operators of affordable housing properties in strengthening resilience to climate change and environmental disasters. Other related toolkits developed by Enterprise Community Partners include the Business Continuity Toolkit for Affordable Housing Organizations, Keep Safe: A Guide for Resilient Housing Design in Island Communities, and Ready to Respond: Strategies for Multifamily Building Resilience.

Publication Date: February 16, 2021

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