Miami Taps into Organic, Local Food Movement to End Homelessness

A community just outside the city offers homeless people a paycheck and place to live in exchange for work on a sustainable urban farm.
by | September 13, 2012 AT 8:00 PM

Ending homelessness is no easy task for cities, but just outside of Miami -- which has reduced its homeless population from roughly 8,000 to 1,000 in a decade -- a new live-in work community is tapping into the sustainable eating trend to do just that, reports Reuters. In Homestead, Fla., the Verde Gardens housing complex offers homeless people a place to live if they work on a 22-acre organic farm that sells produce to local restaurants. Residents are paid for their work as apprentices on the farm while they learn the trade, and the hope is that they'll secure a full-time job on another farm at the end of the program. They pay a flat 30 percent of their monthly income for housing. The housing complex -- paid for by the state, a local homeless trust and a real estate nonprofit -- also caters to children, with playgrounds and a nearby school. Chicago has a similar program.