Julio Guzman, a Homestead resident for more than 40 years, has always been committed to enhancing the quality of life for residents in South Dade, and as the Chairman of the South Dade Chamber of Commerce (SDCC), during a time of a pandemic, he’s now even more committed to serving his community.
As a real estate broker and family man, Guzman not only manages Avanti Way Realty’s Homestead branch near Downtown Homestead, but he’s engaged in the community serving on various boards and committees including the City of Homestead Charter Review Committee; Residential Board of Governors at Miami Association of Realtors; Florida Realtors Key Contact for House Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez; Florida Realtors Committee Member Attainable Workforce Housing; Florida Realtors State Director District 4, Homestead Council Seat #1, and is also a Rotary Club Homestead member.
Through his relentless efforts, he’s been working tirelessly through the pandemic to promote small businesses, affordable housing, military housing programs, agritourism and advocating to attract new business for higher-paying jobs for the community.
When asked about Downtown Homestead and how it has changed during the pandemic, Guzman said, “The Downtown Homestead section was on a great trajectory towards success prior to the pandemic; however, because of the restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s been tough for many businesses to survive. We still have a long road towards getting back to normal. Yet, the people of Homestead are resilient, and business owners have found unique ways to adapt their business strategy during this pandemic. I want to continue to promote innovation and encourage the community to shop locally and support our business owners in this community.”
He continued, “Our community has seen a lot of development on the east side of town and not much on the west side near Downtown Homestead. The community needs to attract investment in both the commercial sector and residential sector for Downtown to survive. Easing the cumbersome zoning and permitting process could help attract the private sector investment needed on the west side of Homestead.”
In efforts to promote small business, through the South Dade Chamber of Commerce, Guzman and others have visited and interviewed community business owners in the community to inquire about their concerns and provide further solutions. When it comes to affordable workforce housing, he said, “We’ve made significant progress with developers looking to bring market-rate housing with elegant design and appeal to this area while understanding better planning and density that fits the area.”
When asked about the Military Housing Program, Guzman explained that SDCC created a military housing task force and a rental housing program to reduce the high move-in cost of military members when renting property. Guzman added, “This program has received attention from many Miami-Dade Municipalities which have adopted and passed resolutions in support of the program. The military housing program has been a year-long project and is very close to finalization. The military community is highly anticipating a program to help make Miami Dade County become a more military friendly community.”
Discussing agritourism, he said, “The Redlands area is becoming an attractive wedding destination for many couples around the country. We created a team with renowned Caterer Bill Hansen and visited many of the wedding venues in the area to promote agritourism. SDCC advocated for a change in the code for events and venues.”
Not leaving out his efforts to attract new business for higher paying jobs, Guzman reported that, “The SDCC has been consistently working with the South Dade Economic Development Council (EDC) to attract big companies to the area. I’ve been working closely with the EDC to find new strategic ways to attract new business and higher-paying jobs.”
Apart from his efforts to boost the community, Guzman believes that advice and supportive words go a long way in boosting morale. “This community is resilient and supportive. The SDCC along with the civic organizations in the area are here to help provide emotional support and help bridge the economic support necessary to get through this difficult time. We are doing our best to provide resources at local, state, and federal level to help assist with all their business needs.
The community has come together and has established a better working relationship with the City of Homestead management department. We feel working together can ease restrictions due to an outdated city code that will attract new investment in our city.”
Guzman concluded, “Get involved, show up to workshops, ask questions, communicate with elected officials on issues or concerns.” For more information on Julio Guzman, or how to get involved and help the local community and South Dade at large, visit www.julioforhomestead.com
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