Protesters stage vigil for housing

They awoke before dawn Tuesday to construct a ''tent city'' on a corner of the lawn at County Hall. They stayed outdoors in the late afternoon heat and into the rainy evening.

''Sleeping out here isn't much worse than the conditions a lot of people are used to here without any affordable housing,'' said Tony Romano, spokesman for the Miami Workers Center, a group advocating for families displaced by Miami-Dade County's affordable housing crisis.

Many such families stayed at the building anticipating today's county budget hearing. Most feel the $15 million earmarked by the county to repair public housing units isn't enough to do the job.

Housing protesters: `Show me the money'

The money signified millions of dollars wasted by the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, demonstrators said. Those waving the bills defied a commission rule that calls for the removal of anyone holding a sign or heckling from the audience.

''My kids and I are living in one room and out of boxes. This is a disgrace,'' said Liberty City's Caprice Brown, her voice breaking as she looked directly at her district commissioner, Dorrin Rolle.

Report: Housing agency wasted millions

In a blistering report aimed squarely at the beleaguered Miami-Dade Housing Agency, the county's inspector general said Thursday that most of $4.1 million in payments meant to help people qualify to buy affordable homes was squandered on mismanagement.

A costly redevelopment program known as HOPE VI promised new, affordable housing for hundreds of families displaced from Liberty City's Scott/Carver Homes. The program has been dogged by irregularities, and county officials have been blasted for funding a housing agency that has misspent millions of dollars.

House of Lie$: In Liberty City, the Miami-Dade Housing Agency has left a wasteland where families once lived

House of Lie$: In Liberty City, the Miami-Dade Housing Agency has left a wasteland where families once lived

Former Home: Andrea Williams stands with her children on the site of their former apartment at Scott Homes public housing, which was torn down. (Raul Rubiera/Miami Herald Staff)

To read the entire 2007 Pulitzer Prize winning Miami Herald Expose, House of Lie$, click here.