Nonprofit, Avenue 3 Miami, aims to bring new life to Downtown and reduce homelessness

Posted at 3:57 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 15:57:15-04

This is Sean. He said he’s been on and off the streets, taking small jobs to make ends meet.

"I’m a barista now but they cut my salary down severely, so that’s one of the reasons why," said Sean.

Then he met Steve Dutton, the founder of Avenue 3 Miami. Dutton offered Sean a videography job to help create awareness around homelessness.

"We all have different pasts, different [stories]. not everyone is bad and not everyone is trying to get you. so we’re trying to draw awareness to that," he said.

Avenue 3 Miami started in 2018 after Dutton’s husband, Tom, was allegedly attacked and killed by a homeless man. About a year later, Avenue 3 Miami was born.

"In the next year I determined that I was going to stay in Miami and see if I could make a positive change happen on this street," said Dutton.

The nonprofit has three goals: redesign the street with better lighting and parklets to attract more locals, reduce the number of homeless individuals, and create an engaging community.

"It was known in the past as Short Street, Avenue A, [and] later became NE 3rd Avenue but it’s just a two block street. It’s the shortest avenue in all of Miami. [there are] almost 20 restaurants are here," said Dutton.

Caffe Tonny, a Mediterranean fast food hotspot, has been on Avenue 3 for over 25 years.

"Downtown Miami used to only be businesses ad after 6 o’clock [there was] nobody in Downtown Miami. Now we have a lot of residents and a lot of people [walking] in Downtown after 6 o’clock," said Jean Francis, owner of Caffe Tonny.

Francis said the improvements have attracted more customers.

"The streets helped the business because everybody walks more now on 3rd Avenue," said Francis.

Dutton said the pandemic has slowed down projects and plans but says they are starting to plan events and they’re in need of volunteers. For more information on how you can help, click here.