Update: The Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously passed both ordinances on first reading. The second reading will most likely be scheduled for the next commission meeting on May, 6.
How does a city strike a balance between the needs of the homeless and the needs of those around them? Those questions will be put to the Fort Lauderdale City Commission as they consider two provisions on the agenda at Tuesday’s commission meeting.
It’s a cool Saturday night and Anthony Rolle pulls his blue Infiniti into the parking lot at Joe’s Stone Crab on South Beach, where he’s headed for dinner. He gets out and drops a quarter into the meter in front of his space.
Rolle starts to look a little puzzled. The meter is painted bright yellow with hearts, flowers and cozy-looking houses. This is not a normal parking meter. It's not actually a parking meter at all.
Protecting the rights of Miami's Homeless since 1998, Federal Judge Federico Moreno has approved changes to the Pottinger settlement. The revisions were reached through mediation between the city of Miami and the ACLU.
Moreno commented before giving his final ruling that this was a different type of class-action suit because it was not about money. Instead, the question at stake is "how do we help people also also help the community grow," he said.
After a night-long count a few weeks ago, Miami-Dade County has just released the newest numbers. In total, 4,156 homeless people live in Miami-Dade County. Eight-hundred and forty people are living on the street, about the same as previous counts.
But this census also tallies the number of homeless sleeping in shelters, in hotels and transitional housing. That number is 3,316, about 200 more than in August and 353 more than last year. Most of those people were in hotels or motels, placed there as part of a program designed for struggling families.
It is college-application season, which means high-school seniors across the country are scrambling to write personal statements, list all their extracurricular activities and take the SATs.
Sierra DuBose is one of those seniors, enrolled at Miami Edison Senior High, but she is also one of almost 7,000 kids in the Miami-Dade public-school system who are homeless. That's about 2 percent of the student population.
Sierra currently lives in a shelter for women called Lotus House, on the edge of Overtown.
Miami's crackdown on homelessness may have negatively impacted the artist community. Street performers, also called buskers, travel to metropolitan areas to strum songs in front of an open guitar case left for passersby to toss in money if they desire. But in Miami, they can't.
Nov. 14 is Homeless Awareness Day in Miami-Dade County. For the event's fifth year, the Homeless Trust is putting on Homeless Awareness Day rallies aimed at publicizing the homeless' plight, as well as celebrating individuals who have dedicated themselves to the cause. An opening ceremony honored the Homeless Trust's outreach workers, known as the "green shirts."