Friday, September 9, 2016

Homeless Board Doesn't Want Homeless Advocates & More

After a long delay, Broward County's Continuum Care of Board met again on Wednesday, September 8th, and there was much to discuss. One of the most surprising, and contentious subjects of discussion, was a proposal to reduce the amount of "homeless advocate" seats on the CoC Board from 4 to 1 and replace them with representatives from local Chambers of Commerce and other County administrative roles. The proposal also called for the seats reserved for the Homeless Providers and Shareholders Committee from 2, to 1, another seat that usually represents homeless services workers.

The overall effect was to replace almost all the homeless advocates on the board with even more bureaucrats, of which there are already close to 20. It would be misleading to say that this seemed like an overly popular idea amongst the CoC board, and frankly it's a bit of a mystery how this even came up in the first place. The proposal, which was not disclosed and voted on in a typical manner for the CoC, ignited yet another great debate at the meeting, and it was decided that the issue would be brought to the Broward County Commission sometime in the next month or two.

What will the Broward County Commission say about that? We hope to have more insight on that later.

County & City Dance Around Anti-Homeless Laws
One CoC Board Member who has not been seen much this summer is Broward County Commissioner / Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief. The Vice Mayor was actually pretty vocal this time, and, when weighing in on the ongoing quagmire that is the Fort Lauderdale Storage Ban Saga, said that she felt the County should do something right away to resolve this issue. But, she also felt the first step would be for the City of Fort Lauderdale should repeal the storage ban. And Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Dean Trantalis agreed. 

This is not the first time we have reported Commissioner Trantalis as saying that the anti-homeless laws of Fort Lauderdale should be gotten rid of. However so far very few people have continued to push the Commission on this issue and it just seems to be all talk. At this time, the homeless hate laws are not going anywhere until there's a little more pressure on the people involved.

Fort Lauderdale's Brightline/All Aboard Florida station
Fort Lauderdale's Great Homeless Displacement Master-Plan Isn't Looking So Good

Also worth mentioning is a fantastic new article by the Florida Bulldog. Martin and Indian River counties have been suing All Aboard Florida, the commuter train line that has been putting in huge new train stations in Broward, Miami, and Palm Beach counties this year. The case is not going well for All Aboard Florida and has led to speculation that AAF is running out of money.

This creates a peculiar scenario for the City of Fort Lauderdale. The All Aboard Florida station in downtown Fort Lauderdale is at the center of a development plan to completely re-make the areas that have been the primary spot for chronically homeless people to stay in the area for decades. What would become of this massive, half built train station, and the retail and condo properties planned for the surrounding blocks, if AAF collapses? What would the City, DDA, and other elite interests do if their primary scheme for permanently displacing homeless people in downtown, results in even more un-used and half-realized properties in the very area that was to be gentrified?

Our only insight at this time is that the train station facade would make for a lovely new homeless shelter.

1 comment:

  1. I am in ft Lauderdale on business and i saw a homeless woman cross in front of my car the night i arrived. The next day, i saw her laying on a yoga mat across the street from the hotel. I went and bought her lunch and gave it to her. She articulated well and didn't seem like the homeless type. I called the hotel next to city hall and had the clerk put her in a room for the night. She ate well, slept in a bed and got a hot shower. I met her last night briefly and found out her name is Michelle and she went through a divorce. She was very thankful and she checked out this morning at 830am. I know there is something that can be done to help and aid these people who are not strung out on drugs or have psychological issues.