In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re highlighting Latinos in the community who are impacting the lives of South Floridians. Today, we’re featuring someone who’s been helping business owners in Allapattah get back on their feet.
Meet Mileyka Burgos Flores. She’s been helping business owners in Allapattah for years.
Mileyka and her family moved to the U.S. when she was five years old. After living in several different states, she came to South Florida to study at the University of Miami.
A couple months into college, she started to feel homesick. That’s when she was introduced to the neighborhood of Allapattah.
“There were two Dominican ladies in the cafeteria and I said to them hey I need to do my hair and I need Dominican food. So they brought me here and I totally fell in love with this neighborhood. That was 1988,” said Mileyka.
Ever since, this part of South Florida has had a very special place in Mileyka’s heart. In 2019, she stared the Allapattah Collaborative to provide business owners with the help they need.
“It came out of a community engagement process. We worked with South Florida Community Development Coalition and the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders and they funded equitable development action plan. And we basically looked at the biggest issue that we have in Allapattah which is gentrification. How people that have invested their sweat equity, their time and their years in building their small businesses and homes are now being swept out by different types of investors,” added Mileyka.
“I’ve been in situations where my bank account was nearly zero,” said Julio Diaz, owner of The Six Borough Clothing.
Julio owns two stores in the neighborhood. He says the organization helped him with business strategy, financial and loan tips.
“Mileyka has been great. I met her four years ago and she just loves this community and she always pitches her ideas to me and what she wants for us. And now during the pandemic, it became concrete because I needed help and I got the help that I needed,” said Julio.
Mileyka says she’s helped over 50 businesses in the area. If you’re a business owner in need, you can reach Mileyka or get more information here. Mileyka says they're also accepting donations.