According to the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, “ a person is considered homeless who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence; or has a primary night-time residency that is a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; an institution that provides temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or, a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
In Miami-Dade, homelessness is a “revolving-door” crisis; many people exit homelessness quickly, but many more become homeless every day. Many including children, families, veterans, and the elderly live day after day without food, water or shelter in our community. This problem should be addressed as a major crisis that is affecting our society. According to statistics Miami-Dade has the highest homeless rate in the State of Florida; there are over 800 homeless persons who remain on our streets today.
We don’t need a tragic incident like the case with Ronald Poppo (victim of face chewing attacker) to remind us that it is 800 too many; that one in three sleeping on our streets are chronic homeless. It is my understanding that external factors driven by poverty such as lack of housing, low wages, foreclosure and unemployment, has placed Miami and its public school system at a critical juncture. For many years, we have seen the changes in our society and families, along with the rise of Miami-Dade’s service economy, affect the patterns of our City’s impoverished population.
The presence of a growing number of chronic homeless in our county has warranted the need to research and address the issue. This proposal addresses the major crisis of homelessness affecting our people in the Miami-Dade County and presents recommendations for reducing this dilemma. Conducting the research would assist in determining the clear reasons for persons becoming homeless, the extent to which many are experiencing homelessness, and what resources are necessary to eradicate this ongoing problem in our County.