Poverty

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.

Zack Mccarthy / Flickr

 

Florida’s minimum wage will be going up Jan. 1, but the increase won’t necessarily put more money in the pockets of minimum wage workers. The 12 cent increase from $7.93 an hour to $8.05 an hour is not meant to increase wages, it’s just supposed to make sure wages aren’t decreasing due to inflation.

The new Florida minimum wage is almost a dollar more than the federal minimum wage, but still not the $10.10 President Obama was championing for all workers last year.

www.facebook.com/FeedingSFL

11/25/14 - Today’s Topical Currents examines studies of South Florida’s “working poor.”  Having a job doesn’t preclude a lack of sustenance. Only 1% of those who get food assistance are unemployed.  Seniors often face a choice of paying utilities and rent . . . or going hungry. We’ll learn more about the efforts with guests: United Way of Miami-Dade Sr. Dir.

Flickr / elycefeliz

Labor Day was created to celebrate the country’s labor movement and its social and economic achievements, but a new study from FIU’s Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy (RISEP) may dampen some of this year’s celebration.

Creative Commons

A Homestead-based food-assistance program called Farm Share received a $1.5 million check last week. State Rep. Kionne McGhee delivered the money, which was allocated in this year’s state budget. This is a $500,000 increase from last year’s state contribution.

Farm Share uses inmate and volunteer labor to sort, package and deliver food to churches, soup kitchens or other organizations across the state that use and distribute food to those in need. It provides the food for free, unlike many other food distribution organizations.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Clementine Gallot

Florida is getting a big bonus this year. The Federal Department of Agriculture is rewarding the state $7 million for being efficient and accurate when it comes to giving out food stamps to families.

At 0.81 percent error rate, the state ranks the second most accurate in the country. That means families don’t get more, or less, help than they qualify for.

The bonus won’t mean more money in the pockets of families, but it will help streamline the process for future need.

Creative Commons

If you walk into Legal Services of Greater Miami on any given weekday morning, there are rows of plastic chairs filled with people looking for help with legal issues. Over the past couple of years, though, it’s been the various legal service and aid providers themselves that have needed help -- financial help.

To make up for significant loss of funding in recent years, Florida Legal Services, the umbrella organization, is floating an idea to get more money. Through the Florida Supreme Court, it will ask the Florida Bar to up its dues -- to have lawyers pitch in more.

Wilson Sayre

Surrounded by a backhoe and excavators, more than 250 people celebrated the groundbreaking of a new housing development project in Miami’s West Grove neighborhood Monday morning.

Gibson Plaza is designed to be a mixed-use, mixed-income housing development offering affordable housing to the elderly. This development is the first project of its kind in over 50 years.

The project is a product of a public-private partnership between Miami-Dade County, two development groups, a private foundation, and Miami-Dade College.

Keren Bolter

Keren Bolter is a doctoral student of geosciences at Florida Atlantic University researching what areas in South Florida are particularly threatened by rising seas. She says all methods of analysis for the risks of sea-level rise only focus on financial vulnerability -- ranking Fort Lauderdale Beach and Miami Beach as high-risk -- but to her, that's not the whole story.

Arianna ProtheroWLRN

Miami’s West Grove residents, unhappy a trolley garage servicing Coral Gables was built in their neighborhood, may soon be able to claim a small victory. After a series of legal battles including a civil-rights investigation, Coral Gables and the garage's developer are now looking to pull out of the West Grove.

City of North Miami

The North Miami Police Department, code enforcement teams and even parks and recreation are joining forces in what are being called “building inspection sweeps.” The city says going in together as a team helps streamline code enforcement.

Three months ago, the roof of an apartment building in North Miami collapsed, displacing over 250 people from their homes. Though that was not the impetus for creating this coalition, city representatives said they learned from the accident.

Illustration: Wilson Sayre, Photo: Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski

Out of 51 large metro areas examined by The Atlantic Cities, Miami ranks 46th most segregated  by poverty. In other words, the city made the study's "least segregated" list.

The Atlantic Cities looked at 2010 Census data to determine if the poor were concentrated in pockets or sprinkled around a city. The study mentioned Miami's abundance of service-industry jobs as a possible explanation for the level of segregation of the poor.

Phillip Pessar/Flickr

02/27/14 - Thursday's Topical Currents begins with an update on the plight of the homeless in Miami–Dade.  The federal Department of Health and Urban Development (HUD) have mandated that funded agencies eliminate chronic homelessness in 2015.  Is it possible?  We’ll speak with two board members of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust.  And more . . .

Wilson Sayre

According to the federal government, "enough" is a simple, five-figure amount: $23,850. That's the poverty line. It marks a distinction between who is poor and who is not, who doesn’t have enough money to make ends meet and who does.

But over the past month, I've asked you to tell me what you think it really takes to live in South Florida. Your answers averaged about $47,600 a year -- almost exactly twice the federal poverty level.

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