a picture of the iconic Miami Dade County courthouse

About Miami PHCD:

We manage more than 8,000 public housing apartments and provide financial help through the federal Section 8 program to more than 18,000 families. Our support services include assisted living facilities for the elderly and self-sufficiency programs for our tenants. We rely on federal and state grant programs to fund our programs. We work closely with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) on our public housing and, with the State of Florida, the development of affordable housing.

About Alex:

Alex R. Ballina has more than 25 years of experience in the administration of institutional grade multifamily properties, U.S. HUD Housing operations and economic development programs. Throughout his career, he has administered over $3.5 billion in assets and managed programs for over 45,000 multifamily units and 80,000 residents throughout the United States. 

Before joining PHCD, Alex straddled the private and public sectors, with executive positions including Director of Asset Management for the Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Development Department (PHCD), City of Miami Beach Housing & Community Development Department, RESIA and Prudential Real Estate Services.

Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development (PHCD)

Program Interview

We caught up with Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development’s (PHCD) Alex R. Ballina (Director), and Nathan Kogon (Assistant Director for Development Services), after they took Affordable Housing: How to Develop Multifamily in any Urban Environment in February 2024, about their experience in the program.

Why did you sign up for this program?

Alex: I am a strong believer in education and understanding how other people are looking at things. Sometimes you get caught in a real estate development point of view and you put blinders on unintentionally and keep doing things the same way. I wanted to get out of my local context and get a bigger picture of affordable housing. 

Nathan: In Miami, we can’t build our way out to affordability in Miami due to limits of land (Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, Everglades to the west) – we must build vertically and through infills of existing sites. This program is part of us educating ourselves on the best ways to do adaptive reuse to increase housing supply, which we need to grow.

Alex: South Florida is unique in its migration patterns. We primarily had people from the Caribbean and Latin America, but with COVID, we saw more domestic migration, especially from the Midwestern and Northeastern parts of the United States. This all created an influx the housing market was not ready for, as supply usually takes about 5-7 years to come to fruition. 

What did this program offer that is unique?

Alex: Real estate is very localized – you need to know the political environment, the commission districts pain points to accomplish the desired outcomes. There is nothing like this program – no other holistic perspective of this issue. It brought together issues of land use, zoning, case studies, financing – it was very dynamic.

Nathan: I didn’t expect to say this, but I had a lot of fun in this program. The case study was really complex and pushed the boundaries of what I’ve seen done. 

How do you see the future of PHCD?

Alex: One of the things I want to create is a “PHCD University”. Our housing world is so complex, so many people want to participate, but they don’t know where to start. Part of our thought process is helping people with land and development potential to unlock the value of those assets, first by educating ourselves, and then by being able to better educate them.

Nathan: We offer so many different programs to try to address the housing supply and affordability challenges we face here, from low-interest loans on projects that include income-restricted units, to zero interest down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. I hope we can make those programs better known throughout the community.