homelessness

Students who are considered homeless by Florida schools can be living in hotels, trailer parks, in campgrounds or doubled up with friends or relatives. And with as many as 71,000 or more homeless students in the state the challenges can extend beyond the kids and families to include the schools.

For most kids school is a place of achievement and learning, or just a place to socialize with friends. But for kids without stable living arrangements it can mean much more than that.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

UPDATE: At a meeting Thursday, March 12, the Miami City Commission deferred a final vote on the proposed "anti-camping" law for 30 days.

The Miami City Commission has a final vote scheduled for Thursday that would make it illegal for the homeless to camp out on public property.

The commission tentatively approved a version of the law on February 12 that banned “camping paraphernalia” such as sleeping bags and bedding.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

The City of Miami recently approved a preliminary law that would make it illegal for homeless people to erect tents on public sidewalks.

The law also prohibits setting up blankets and pillows on sidewalks, which concerned homeless advocates and prompted criticism that the city was criminalizing homelessness.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

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."

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

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.

Jim Fischer / Flickr CC

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.

Lynne Sladky / El Nuevo Herald

  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.

Lynne Sladky / El Nuevo Herald

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler is adamant about the city's ordinances relating to homeless issues. He has said, as have other city commissioners, that the laws are for public safety.

That hasn't softened the blow of the international scrutiny from social media as well as the late night shows, including The Colbert Report.

On The Florida Roundup, NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd joins us to talk about the changing political landscape nationally and Florida’s role in shaping it, including President Obama’s expected action on immigration reform.

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