Sea Levels Are Rising In Miami, Turning Little Haiti Into Hot Property | AJ+

Sea Levels Are Rising In Miami, Turning Little Haiti Into Hot Property | AJ+

You can hear, you can smell culture. You can taste it. Culture for us is everything. Culture is identity. But that culture is under threat from
a new and growing phenomenon: climate gentrification. We’re in Little Haiti, or in Creole, “Ti Ayiti.” It’s a Miami neighborhood filled with
a thriving Haitian immigrant community and … rising property rates. Everyone who has property in Little Haiti,
they want to kick them out. This is my home. Little Haiti is one of the fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in the United States. And the climate crisis has a lot do with it. Experts expect Miami’s sea level to rise
more than a foot in just 25 years. We’re actually seeing the effects of climate change. We’re seeing tidal flooding on sunny days. We’re realizing that the seas are rising. The city’s famed beaches will eventually
be submerged at high tide. And Little Haiti sits on a ridge far above these properties. Suddenly somebody realized, “Oh wow … this seems
to be one of the highest elevated points in Miami.” Its location has made it a hotspot for development, and Haitians are being forced out. More than 30,000 Haitian immigrants live in Miami,
which has the largest population of Haitians in the U.S. Michel Bien-Aimé is one of them. He bought a house in Little Haiti 30 years ago. Now, it’s prime real estate. He’s received dozens of letters from realtors
offering to buy his property. That’s one. But this one, that’s the one that scare me. “Dear Mr. Bien-Aimé, It’s time for you to move.” They scared me because they told me that’s
the time for me to leave the property. This is my property. I don’t say I have for sale. So this is disrespect. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. No, no, no, no. They try to buy from us for cheap money,
and then they’re going to make big money. But I don’t want to sell the house. Michel chose not to respond to any of the letters,
and his case isn’t an isolated one. Neither is his immigration story. In the ‘70s and ’80s, there was a surge of immigrants from Haiti due to political unrest in the country. Little Haiti became their cultural stronghold, and now climate gentrification is threatening it. Climate gentrification in Miami is about the movement
of people towards the higher ground and the displacement of those who have historically lived and developed communities on that high ground. Miami Beach’s coveted oceanfront properties are
some of the most vulnerable in the country to sea level rise. Almost one-third of the area is expected
to see chronic flooding by 2045. This means that it would see flooding at least 26 times a year, or on average, once every other week. Miami is historically low lying, beautiful, built. It used to be swamp, and all the rich,
beautiful people wanted to live on the coast. And those communities of color
were displaced to the railroad tracks. About one-fifth of Miami-Dade County lies below 1 foot of elevation at high tide. Projections say that if the sea rises by just 2 feet, Miami would look like this. And with 6 feet of sea level rise, it would look like this. The heart of Little Haiti lies here, at almost 13 feet above sea level. The cost of a home in Little Haiti has gone up
because it’s on high ground. Because value’s up, they can’t afford to buy
in their communities anymore. The rate of that gentrification is now accelerating. In Miami, sea level rise is no longer hypothetical.
It’s happening now. The city already experiences increased flooding during high tides. So those neighborhoods at higher elevation
are more appealing to developers. And those areas are also some of the poorest. It is a reality that coping with climate change requires resources and many, many of us don’t have the resources. So in that sense, Florida is a microcosm of what all coastal counties,
cities, states are going to have to be facing. Climate gentrification hits communities like Little Haiti the hardest. Schiller Sanon-Jules was forced to shutter his once thriving
secondhand store after a dramatic rental hike. Our store used to be from there to where the awning is. So we had about 5,000 square feet. Our lease ended after five years, and the owners wanted us to pay $4,800 instead of $2,500 in order for us to renew the lease. Schiller opened up a stall at the Little Haiti Cultural Center
down the street from his old store. But the stall is small and his business has suffered. We still had a lot of stuff.
We had to throw away a lot of it. Our business just went down the drain. Two years later, Schiller has yet to open up
another store like the one he had. They’re gradually getting us out of here little by little because the rents are getting so expensive
and people cannot afford them anymore. The Haitians have been pushed out. And this was an identity for us as Haitians, a place where we felt like home. Tessa Painson runs a local organization helping
provide affordable homes for the Haitian community. Developments are coming in that are not inclusive
of the low-income residents of the area. And those new businesses do not create opportunities
for those who have been here forever, who’ve built this area to be able to remain a part of it. These big luxury commercial and residential projects
are contributing to gentrification in Little Haiti. We embrace our roots and innovate into the future. Technologies will advance, expanding our community
and our opportunity to thrive. This the promotional video for the billion-dollar Magic City Innovation District. The megaproject spans seven city blocks in the center of Little Haiti. The impact that it has is not just on the four corners that it occupies. The cost of living is going to increase blocks and blocks
around that new development Developers claim that no one has been displaced,
but the project includes thousands of luxury apartments. The average income for a Haitians in Miami is less than $25,000 per year. The other side of of climate gentrification is
increasing traffic, changing demographics. The small businesses that catered to the Haitian community. Now when you have less and less Haitians,
you will have less and less customers. And so that also brings down the businesses
and forces them to close down. Each closure leaves a scar on the existing community. And community members like François Alexandre
are leading efforts to maintain the essence of Little Haiti. The problem that I see with these big developments
is that they don’t fit, they don’t fit into a small residential neighborhood. Culture for us is everything. Culture is identity. Culture is also economics. The culture is important in terms of maintaining it
and maintaining it for generations to come. This is everything that we’re telling people to give up
and that they’ve worked for years to establish We don’t really care if you’re going to rebuild the family,
to rebuild a village where you’re going. All we know is that we need you to go. But Little Haiti residents are fighting further displacement. Dozens went to City Hall to speak out against
the latest megaproject, Eastside Ridge. If the city approves the application, the developer
would build more than 3,000 residential units, 5,000 parking spaces and
nearly 300,000 square feet of commercial space. It could displace hundreds of residents. The developer’s application hasn’t met many city requirements,
including community consultation. And so, the application has been deferred. Community groups realize they can’t stop development in Little Haiti. But they demand more affordable housing for residents. Tessa’s organization just unveiled a six-unit affordable housing complex. Together with the families that will soon be moving into this building, we are excited. And at the same time, we want to let everyone know
this is just a stepping stone. According to the organization, all of the apartments
will be occupied by members of the Haitian community. But they know many more are needed in order
to fight displacement and preserve Little Haiti. I am so happy that my family is going to be able to find, they actually get opportunity to move into affordable housing
in our community, Ti Ayiti. We can’t avoid change. Change is good. But change can be humane,
and change can be inclusive. And those communities where you’re going in as a large developer, those communities are not the enemy. These are people’s lives that you’re affecting.


  1. Post
  2. Post
    Nick Stacey

    Yup, exactly! Within the past 10 years, new clubs already popped up there, which was not there before. The Carribbean art by Haitians there are beautiful. Next place to be gentrified will be little Havana.

  3. Post
  4. Post
  5. Post
  6. Post
  7. Post
    Edward Mitchell

    In reality it's just time for us Negros to go home to Africa as in the lands of our captors we will never be allowed to truly rise as a people and prosper as truth be told they still see us all as 3/5ths of a human being.

  8. Post

    Poor Mr. Aimé those predatory realtors need to have some respect. It is not their place to tell a home owner that they need to leave.

  9. Post
  10. Post
  11. Post
  12. Post
    ninja croc

    Why don’t they just build a great wall, or dam around Haïti? Why don’t they build something like that? Than with a great wall they can use the extra water for energy.

  13. Post
  14. Post
  15. Post

    This is happening all over South Florida from Palm Beach to Florida city. Soon enough we will have nowhere to live. So sad.

  16. Post
  17. Post
    Wendell 717

    I wonder what some of the rich pricks will do when climate change starts to affect them more😠. Right now its minor in their eyes, they can simply move around and displace lower class folk.

  18. Post
    Zara Zara

    They have done enough in south Beach, now the sea rise against them……
    Haitians don't need to cry for a bread, while they will have ownership of the whole bakery….
    We know the nations are tripping, four corners.

  19. Post
  20. Post
  21. Post
  22. Post
    Didi Panda

    if I was them I wouldn't sell yet, wait till the shit really hits the fan in about 20, 30 years, those properties are going to be priceless. I wait till then and work out royalty deal.

  23. Post
    Sameer S

    Several European countries such as Belgium and Switzerland have legalized assisted suicide for the elderly, disabled, and terminally ill people.
    USA should also legalize assisted euthanasia for the elderly, disabled, terminal ill, poor and homeless.
    Society forces financially poor people to live and suffer.
    Atleast offer them a fast and painless way out.

  24. Post

    The people here should talk to each other, find out how much their land is currently worth, go to the banks together as a group and say they want to sell at double the going rate. My guess, this climate gentrification will result in a whole lot of new multimillionaires walking out of the bank. Meantime, Miami looks destined to be the first city to go underwater, our own New Atlantis.

  25. Post
    Voidisyinyang Voidisyinyang – just wait – El Nino next year kicks off East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane bomb! gonna get real hot real fast!

  26. Post
  27. Post

    Salvation is simple. All you need to do is “…believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31 KJV. Do you believe?

  28. Post
  29. Post
  30. Post
    Christopher T.

    Throughout this new segment I noticed that they continuously refer to themselves as Haitian which creates a psychological barrier between them and other black folks in the states and many other places throughout the diaspora. We are all of the same stock which is African. The day we realize that collectively is the day we start to gain what was lost hundreds and thousands of years ago. Our ancestors were kidnapped, abducted, enslaved and dispersed throughput the world. They left the continent as Africans not Haitian, African-American, Cuban, Spanish etc etc. Go to New York and ask anyone in Chinatown what they are and they will all say Chinese because their identify was not stolen from them.

  31. Post
  32. Post
    Jacqueline Gan

    It's called a land grab! They even changed the name to Magic City. Wherever you see that word "Magic", remember it's only magical for the elites.

  33. Post
  34. Post
  35. Post
  36. Post
  37. Post
    SupremeZazz 23

    Sorry for your loss.
    Don’t worry it’s happening to us whites aswell but it’s called white flight & white racism when we want to preserve our community’s, cultures and identity

  38. Post
  39. Post
  40. Post
    Ethic Ethnic

    Gentrification only benefits the White & wealthy. We don't need change to be "inclusive" we need change to acknowledge, what has already been.

  41. Post
  42. Post
  43. Post

    This is happening literally everywhere, capitalists exploiting the local culture into extinction and then it's another tacky upperclass area filled with boring people.

  44. Post
    Britney p

    This is absolutely insane black people it’s time to leave the states and build elsewhere. The rich/ big developments constantly destroy black communities. I’m over it🤦🏽‍♀️

  45. Post
    Britney p

    The only culture US knows is money. This country is for the greedy!!!! It’s doesn’t care about families, culture, health or education only 💰💰💰

  46. Post
  47. Post
    Jay Rod

    Funny. Because of Jim Crow, blacks were forced to live in squalor, so the whites could have the best of the city. Now that mother nature is claiming back her territory, the poor blacks are being kicked out to nowhere, to make room for the privileged whites. Life is a b**ch!

  48. Post
    Jay Rod

    The mistake these people make, is that they 'rent' instead of 'buy'. So when the developers come in, they virtually have no power.

  49. Post
    Ersin Avseren

    they offer you money. That's not a bad thing at all. Just sell and move to another place. You did it 30 years before.

  50. Post
  51. Post
    Tony Buontempo

    I am voting for every communist and socialist i can find on the ballot. We need to end private property rights before we all end up homeless.

  52. Post
  53. Post
  54. Post
  55. Post
  56. Post
    Quintin mason

    The Haitians should take their money an put it all in one black bank then take out loans to buy back the property

  57. Post

    Climate is cyclical. It has been changing for millions of years. Natural climate cycle science at work.
    "Gentrification" is code for "too many white people are moving into the neighborhood". Racism 101.

  58. Post
  59. Post
  60. Post
  61. Post
  62. Post
    Roberto Morales

    Sell that sh*t and get out of there before its too late. Soon the property tax will rise and code inspector will begin harassing the hatians

  63. Post
  64. Post
    DJ Simma

    If they dont look like you or are in the same financial position as you, they will not really care about you. People need to start understanding that, and better prepare for the future.

  65. Post
    John ny

    Developers better provide Long Term Good Paying Jobs and Benefits for the Locals. Also, include Haitian Small Shops into their Retail Spaces so the owners can continue with their business and gain new clientele as well. Lastly, Developers should contribute to More Affordable Housing Complexes for the Locals. Much Blessings to All Involved and Effected by Change.

  66. Post
  67. Post
    King Imperious

    So instead of fixing climate change and working together to fix the country they just want to gentrify and move out black people wonder what will they do when climate change gets worse

  68. Post

    well now the Haitians know how the original occupants and developers of that neighborhood, white Americans, felt when they moved in, misused the land, and nearly destroyed that area

  69. Post
    Chernin Productions

    This video is so demagogue. There is no climate crisis! The floods are because the sewers are old and clog. The real state market is raising in the hole Miami. Nobody want to kick them out. If you do not want to sell nothing will happen to you. This is a free country and the ecomomical system is market economy. No one can take away what is legally yours. Stop playing the victim! This video is a manipulation of the reality 👎

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *