Jorge Clabijo settles in for the night as Miami Police officer Gregg Vassari chats with Kevin Key in downtown Miami. Key decided to move to a shelter as Miami’s police outreach team worked with the homeless by offering shelter in the Mat Program.
Jorge Cantero, with MS International Real Estate has a taste of Mediterranean quinoa salad from Chef Alex Rodil, who has a new catering business in Miami called On the Fly. Samples of Miami area food and beverages were on hand during the first State of Downtown event hosted by the Miami Downtown Development Authority at the MDC Museum of Art Design at the Freedom Tower Friday evening, Feb. 27, 2015.
Miami’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) held its first ever “State of Downtown” event Friday evening to showcase the growth of Miami’s urban core. Miami Commissioner and DDA Chairman Marc Sarnoff says downtown is on the upswing.
"We’re about to make leaps and bounds, progress that we haven’t made in years and years," Sarnoff said. "Miami is putting the pieces together that it needs for a vibrant economic engine."
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Florida $84.3 million to support homeless services and housing facilities across the state.
Nationwide, HUD gave $1.8 billion, making Florida the sixth-largest recipient, trailing New York and California.
The funds will go to support what’s called the continuum of care -- a group of coordinated services that a homeless person moves through as he or she goes from the streets or shelters into some sort of permanent housing and ultimately, self-sufficiency.
By the end of January, all four South Florida counties will have conducted their yearly homeless counts as required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The numbers help local homeless initiatives figure out where to put their resources and if there have been any major shifts in the demographics of its homeless population.
Volunteers will go out late Thursday night to count the number of homeless people living on the streets of Miami-Dade County. Many of the 840 tallied last year are the hardest to help because they’ve been homeless for so long.
But the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has implemented a new tool members think could put a serious dent in the number of street homeless going forward. It’s called the VISPDAT, the Vulnerability Index Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool.
Efforts to regulate homeless activities and services in Fort Lauderdale have come under a microscope over the last couple months as advocate Arnold Abbott fights new city regulations on how and where food can be distributed to the homeless.
He is now battling that law in court after receiving three citations for continuing his food services illegally. A Broward County judge has since suspended the ordinance until early February.
UPDATE Oct. 22, 12 p.m.: The regulations passed by a four-one commission vote around 3:30 Wednesday morning.
Adding to crackdowns on where homeless people in Fort Lauderdale can sleep, go to the bathroom, and store their belongings, the city is nowattempting to regulate how outside organizations provide food to them.
Vicki Mallette is wrapping up her first 90 days as the new executive director of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. She left her post as acting director of development, advocacy and communications for Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces to assume the new position.
The Homeless Trust was founded in 1993, when there was a public call to deal with the thousands of men, women and children living on the streets, in shelters and in transitional housing across the county.
A record number of homeless students are attending Florida Schools according to new numbers out from the U.S. Department of Education. Almost 70,000 kids in the state were homeless during the 2012-2013 school year, a 10-percent increase compared to the national average of 8-percent.
However, most of those kids are not recognized as homeless by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which acts as a clearinghouse for many social services available to the homeless.