152: Annie Lord (Miami Homes For All)

Annie Lord on Innovation City

“I imagine a place where, if you are working, it’s not unreasonable to expect that if you have family you could buy a house to build wealth. We have to have ways to improve ourselves.” – Annie Lord

Welcome to Season 3 of Innovation City, a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Annie Lord, Executive Director of Miami Homes For All. Miami Homes For All has worked to end and prevent homelessness in Miami-Dade County since 1985. They believe that everyone in Miami deserves to lead a dignified, healthy, and vibrant life. Born and raised in Miami, Annie has over 15 years of experience in community development. Before joining MHFA, Annie was the Chief Program Officer for CitySquare, where she oversaw all programs, including housing for people and families experiencing homelessness, a food pantry, foster youth services, a health clinic, and a family law firm. In this episode, Annie sits down with the team to discuss the need for stable housing in Miami’s lower income communities, ways her and MHFA are working to solve the housing security crisis, spotlighting some innovative spaces around Miami who are providing better access to resources for low income families and individuals, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Fun Fact: Annie loves to sing and actually met her husband while playing in a cover band.
  • Miami Homes For All is largely an advocacy and community engagement organization
  • For her, education and housing are the 2 avenues she felt she could be the most impactful for her community
  • The need for stable housing in someone’s life has many branches the larger view of someone’s quality of life and wellbeing
  • There is a huge need for housing security in Miami
    • STAT: there are roughly 250K households in Miami-Dade County who are making $35 or less and are being forced to spend more than they can afford on housing
  • Money is the easiest and fastest solution to providing better housing security, but it takes a larger look at where money is being spent in the public sector to begin to solve the problem
  • The 2 ways to solve the housing problem:
    • Reduce the cost of housing
    • Increase the amount of resources available
  • There are some spaces like Bakehouse Art Complex around Miami that are creating spaces for artists that would mix both studio space and affordable housing.
  • There is an opportunity in Miami to create spaces for innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs to come together under one roof and have access to resources and housing
  • There are some neighborhoods within Miami that have a vacancy rate of around 40%
    • These types of homes are typically high-priced spaces where the owner might vacation or stop in from traveling the majority of the year.
  • The “American Dream” ideal is mostly dead at this point, but what dream do we want next?
  • Connect with Miami Homes For All on their website and social media @miamihomes4all

Lightning Round:

  • What is most important to you?
    • My family
  • What is your perfect day?
    • My kids, husband, and I go for an epic run, scoot, bike ride. We pick up fruit by the side of the road, stop for smoothies, and go swimming.
  • What makes you lose track of time?
    • Listening to music
  • What is a defining moment in your life and how did it impact you?
    • Taking a leap of faith and moving back to Miami in 2008 when there was a recession in order to be with my family.
  • What can you do that you couldn’t do a year ago?
    • Wake up at 4:00am and accomplish real work.