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Heard On Sundial: Palm Beach Schools To Begin Virtually, Homeless Displaced From Hotels, Evictions

The city of Fort Lauderdale sent a notice telling homeless guests at a hotels that they must vacate the property. The city had been paying for their stay.

On this Thursday, July 23, episode of Sundial:

Palm Beach County Schools To Begin Online-Only

As COVID-19 cases increase throughout the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis said that teachers with underlying health conditions should be granted a choice when it comes to returning to a physical learning environment. However, he continues to stress the importance of returning to in-person schooling.

This comes as the Palm Beach County School Board unanimously approved a plan Wednesday to start the academic year Monday, Aug. 31. They will start classes virtually and plan to offer students in-person classes later in the year.

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“There is still anxiety in the air, but the delay has certainly given both parents, students, and staff more time to adjust to the changes” said Wilkine Brutus, WLRN’s Palm Beach County reporter.

We spoke with Brutus about the school board’s vote, racial justice protests and the formation of a new task forcethat will research issues in West Palm Beach through the lens of race and ethnicity and address them through educational policy.

Homeless Displaced From Hotels

There are at least 2,500 homeless people living in Broward County, according to the last Point in Time Count completed at the beginning of this year.

Back in May there were 110 people experiencing homelessness who were taken off the streets and given a room at an Extended Stay hotel. The city of Fort Lauderdale paid for it with the expectation that they would eventually be reimbursed by the federal government.

Last week, most of them were told they had to leave the hotel. Officials say it's because the money for the voucher program ran out. 

“The city has washed its hands of this issue and those [homeless] people are now all on their own," said Jeff Weinberger, the founder of October 22 Alliance to End Homelessness.

We spoke with Weinberger and Sun Sentinel reporter Susannah Bryan about the plight of homeless people in South Florida during this pandemic. 

Eviction Moratorium To Expire

Gov. Ron DeSantis placed a moratorium on evictions in April and has extended it each month. It is currently unclear if he plans to do this for August. 

We spoke with Sean Rowley, the advocacy director of the Tenants Rights Unit at Greater Legal Services of Miami, and Kevin Fabrikant, who represents landlords through the law firm Fabrikant and Associates.

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Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the lead producer behind WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.