Every day going into work, Danielle Blake, chief of commercial at MIAMI REALTORS®, would pass a container graveyard—empty containers being stored near Miami International Airport.
So, when MIAMI REALTORS® started thinking about new ways to address housing affordability, Blake remembered those containers. That was the seed for a demonstration project by MIAMI REALTORS®—supported by a National Association of REALTORS® Community Outreach grant and in partnership with the city of South Miami and Miami-Dade County, which donated the land in exchange for a 20-year deed restriction to maintain affordability. The six-year project would take two shipping containers, convert them into an affordable housing unit and, through that process, identify barriers to construction and affordability.
Finished in 2021, the project has already changed some policies, and the ripple effect is ongoing. For example, the city commission approved a zoning code modification to open 40 other land parcels for future container homes.
The project drew huge public interest, says Blake, and helped strengthen relationships with county and city officials. One even told her, “I had no idea REALTORS® cared about these issues.”
“It really changed his perspective,” says Teresa King Kinney, RCE, CAE, MIAMI REALTORS® CEO.