Back in the ECA management office, Steven Kirk stresses that families such as the Alvarezes can thrive only in an environment like Everglades Villages. "We have an established Hispanic community here in South Dade," he states. "It's a good place for people to move from marginal to being working-class." But for families that do not qualify to rent a house, or that don't want to put down roots here, Kirk doesn't have an easy answer. "With every solution comes a problem," he admits. To deal with those people who won't move into a house, ECA's board of directors has voted to look for land to maintain a temporary facility of 50 trailers when, in 1997, the Royal Colonial lease expires and the Andrew Center will be gone.
"Essentially we're landlords, providing basic shelter to the poorest members of the community," he says. "The reality is that if they don't succeed here, we have to realize -- unlike most landlords -- that they may have no place else to go.