Aventura approves ‘Hero Housing’ initiative to give teachers, police half off on rent

Howard Weinberg -- FB
The city says it won’t cost taxpayers a cent.

Living in Aventura could become much more affordable for some educators and law enforcement personnel in the coming years.

The Aventura Commission unanimously approved a measure offering 50% rent subsidies for luxury buildings in the city to teachers at a pair of schools in the city, Aventura police officers and police dispatchers.

The program, “Hero Housing,” is the brainchild of Aventura Mayor Howard Weinberg. Officials say it won’t cost taxpayers a cent.

There are also no income requirements since it’s not an affordable housing program. Rather, it’s an incentive Aventura is offering developers to attract and retain essential workers in the city.

“Aventura is proud to be leading the way,” Weinberg said in a statement.

Here’s how it works: Aventura grants a developer additional density for a residential project. In exchange, the developer sets aside a negotiated number of units in the building to be offered permanently at 50% rates.

The units are no different than the others offered at full price, a city spokesperson said. Tenants must sign one-year leases, which are guaranteed to be renewed as long as they maintain their employment with the Aventura Police Department, Aventura City of Excellence School (ACES) or Don Soffer Aventura High School.

The one catch is that if someone using Hero Housing ends their employment at one of those places, they must either move out by the end of the following month or pay full market rate rent until their lease expires. There’s no penalty for moving out early.

Miami-Dade County has long had a teacher shortage. To shore up that deficiency, the school district has — among other things — worked with Miami Dade College to route education students into county classrooms and lowered the requirements for substitute teachers twice in six years.

But that doesn’t solve what Don Soffer Principal Geoff McKee says are the greatest deterrents to working as a teacher in Miami-Dade.

“The greatest deterrents to working (as a teacher here) are the cost of housing in the immediate vicinity and the traffic congestion encountered when traveling from affordable neighborhoods,” Don Soffer Principal Geoff McKee said. “The Hero Housing initiative … would remedy these deterrents and would make a powerful statement to educators regarding the value of their service.”

ACES Principal Ana Melhuish called Hero Housing a “game changer.” Aventura Police Chief Michael Bentolila said in a statement that Hero Housing “will be a huge incentive in recruiting top-quality individuals within the public safety arena.”

The first development with Hero Housing accommodations is Icon Aventura, a residential tower with 295 condominium units and some ground-level retail space. The developer, Miami-based Related Group, is expected to break ground in late 2024.

Once completed, Related will permanently retain ownership of 20 condo units to rent out at Hero Housing rates. The city and developer originally agreed to reserve 20% of the tower’s units for the program, but higher interest rates and a cooling off in the housing market led to renegotiation between the two parties, a city spokesperson said.

Related CEO Jorge Pérez said, “Housing affordability has become one of our biggest national urban problems and it is affecting our heroes profoundly. Most of these necessary professional people find that they can’t afford to live in or near the cities where they work. The mayor’s initiative attempts to alleviate this problem.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Impeach Biden

    November 8, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    This is Socialism, and teachers are leaches who don’t deserve this.

  • Julia

    November 8, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    I even have made $30,030 just in five weeks straightforwardly working part-time from my apartment. Immediately when I’ve lost my last business, I was exhausted and luckily I found this top online task & with this I am in a position to obtain thousands directly through my home. Everybody is able to get this best career & can gain more dollars online

    going this article…………………………………………

  • Julia

    November 8, 2023 at 3:22 pm


Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704