homeless

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

After months of contentious debate and a 4-3 vote, the Key West city commission made a decision Tuesday night on a site for a new homeless shelter.

The site chosen was the same one recommended months ago by city staff. Last October, the commission deadlocked 3-3 on a decision to move there and told staff to explore opening a shelter at the city's transportation building on Palm Avenue.

HUD Awards Florida $84 Million To End Homelessness

Jan 27, 2015
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.

Miami-Dade County Trying To Count Homeless Children

Jan 27, 2015

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.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Yamille Medina sits in front of a mirror while a makeup artist brushes purple blush onto her cheeks. She cradles her 2-year-old son Antonio in her arms; he’s a bit cranky.

Nearby, a nine-months pregnant woman is picking out a dress from a collection of outfits hanging on a rack. Another woman who had her baby six days ago is having her hair blow-dried.

These women are homeless. They live at the Miami Rescue Mission’s women’s shelter, many with their children. On this day, the women and their children are being treated to a staple of the holiday season: a portrait session.

YouTube screenshot

When the city of Fort Lauderdale placed new restrictions on how different groups could feed the homeless, many South Florida residents were dumbfounded.

They reacted in the form of social media memes and Facebook posts. Concerned citizens drafted letters to Mayor Jack Seiler, threatening to boycott the city if the new regulations weren’t lifted. And this week the hacker group Anonymous addressed a video to Mayor Seiler, announcing it would shut down the city's official web page until he lifted the restrictions on feeding the homeless.

WLRN

Fort Lauderdale has come under fire for arresting a 90-year-old man who was feeding the homeless after the city passed tougher regulations on how outdoor “feedings” can be held.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Wicker Paradise (https://flic.kr/p/ecyRbQ)

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 now attempting to regulate how outside organizations provide food to them.

Wilson Sayre

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.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

A new national report found a general trend toward criminalizing the homeless, and criticized the laws of some areas in Florida. The report, published by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, looked at how municipalities treat the homeless.

It found more and more cities have banned activities like sleeping on sidewalks, sitting in public spaces or storing personal possessions outside.

Wilson Sayre

 

Almost 200 people now have a place to call home in an affordable housing development just opened in Little Havana.

In addition to a roof, kitchens and beds for low-income and formerly homeless people, Amistad’s 89 apartments offer supportive housing services:

“We do case management, we do employment and training services, we do life-skills training, we do parenting-skills trainings, we do activities with the kids,” says Stephanie Berman, president of Carrfour Supportive Housing.

Wilson Sayre

The Salvation Army of Broward County has opened the doors to a new facility that could help up to 45 people every night. But the cots at the Open Door Shelter are more about building trust than getting sleep.

Alyse Gossman is the volunteer coordinator for the Salvation Army in Broward County.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Aaron Alexander

Life for panhandlers in South Florida is getting harder. Delray Beach may join several other South Florida cities in cracking down on the practice.

The city is not trying to outright ban panhandling, like it has been in some areas in Miami, but it is trying to legislate panhandling politeness.

The city is looking to add language to the municipal code defining what panhandling is and where it should be avoided. For example, it shouldn't happen within 15 feet of a sidewalk cafe or at bus stops.

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