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Update on Homelessness Collaborative in Broward

Post Date:December 10, 2018 10:00 AM

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December 4, 2018

The downtown Fort Lauderdale encampment is gone, but much work remains to end homelessness as we know it in Broward County. Outreach and Housing teams have begun placing 80 individuals, couples and families that were relocated to temporary motel accommodations last week to Rapid Rehousing or Permanent Supportive Housing apartments, the first step on their way to A Home for the Holidays.  

  • Over the weekend, an individual and a couple with two dogs were each housed in Hollywood homes. A woman with a child was housed in Hollywood. Another individual is moving into a home in Hallandale. On Monday, several residents were taken to look at available apartments in North Broward and Fort Lauderdale.
         
  • United Way’s landlord recruitment program is steadily increasing the number of available housing units! By Monday, four units on hold for residents of the encampment had been leased. Types of units recently acquired include studios, a 1/1 in Wilton Manors, a 2/1 in Hallandale and northwest Fort Lauderdale, and a cottage behind a main house in Fort Lauderdale. Often, utilities are included.
         
  • Move-in inspections are being conducted as usual. Some of the new homes come furnished, and others are being furnished, thanks to the generosity of City Furniture.
     
  • Outreach workers continue to assess the needs of those still in area motels, to match them to the supportive services (e.g. health care, mental health, substance abuse services) they need. One individual refused further services and was transported upon request to a shelter.
     
  • The former encampment area has been enclosed with fencing, and a long-planned County construction project to renovate the outside of the Main Library and plaza area has begun. City of Fort Lauderdale is considering construction improvements to the sidewalk area on SE 1st Ave.
     
  • 15 residents of the former encampment elected to put some of their belongings into storage. These items are being held in a secure storage pod on the plaza, with access available from 9AM to 4PM Monday through Friday, through Friday, December 28. 

Looking Ahead…
Updates on new Day Respite Services and Meal Sharing coming soon! The Homeless Point in Time Count is Wednesday, January 23 from 4-10PM. Volunteers are needed. Call 954-357-6101 or email AWayHome@Broward.org.


Homelessness Collaborative in Broward Focused on Housing

Individuals and Families from Former Encampment

Permanent housing ahead for 80 previously unsheltered homeless 

“I am so proud that this collaborative effort has produced such quick and humane results. The encampment at the library had represented our failure to adequately address homelessness. Now, the plaza illustrates what we can do when we work together. We provided a helping hand to the homeless who lived there – finding housing for them and setting them up with needed social services. We need to press ahead and use this as a model for ending homelessness throughout our community.” 

-Mayor Dean J. Trantalis

The Homelessness Collaborative in Broward reached a major milestone this week when the last individuals and families remaining in the downtown Fort Lauderdale encampment voluntarily moved out along with their pets and belongings, the first step in their journey towards realization of A Home for the Holidays.  

  • 80 individuals left the encampment.
  • All 41 tents were removed with owner approval.
  • Every pre-identified resident of the encampment who wanted services was offered services.
  • Three individuals were reunited with family members in Illinois, Texas and Oregon.
  • 28 households are eligible for Rapid Rehousing units. Rapid rehousing helps people obtain housing quickly, without preconditions such as employment, income or sobriety, and allows them to increase self-sufficiency by providing short-term rental assistance and supportive services to get people back on their feet.
  • 26 households are eligible for Permanent Supportive Housing. Permanent supportive housing promotes independent living with ongoing financial assistance and connections to community-based healthcare, treatment and employment services.
  • Eight individuals and two families were placed in shelters and will continue to work with case managers on permanent housing solutions.
  • Individuals and families will begin to be placed in their new homes on Monday, December 3. Apartments are being furnished through the generosity of City Furniture.

These successes were the result of adopting the nationally recognized best practice “housing first” approach to assisting individuals experiencing homelessness. Months of work and planning by more than 40 public and private partners went into the work of the Collaborative, which was founded by Broward County, the City of Fort Lauderdale, United Way of Broward County, the Broward Business Council on Homelessness and the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care. 

United Way of Broward County and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance also founded the Broward Business Council on Homelessness, which allocated and raised millions of dollars in funding from a variety of businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Early on, AutoNation and Operation Lift Hope each contributed up to $300,000 to the Council, and challenged others in the business community to match that amount. View Business Council Contributors  

The Broward County Board of County Commissioners allocated $1.2 million and the City of Fort Lauderdale Commission allocated $800,000 in new funding for this effort. 

“The collaboration between Broward County, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the private sector represents the future of effective governance – one that emphasizes collaboration, empathy, and creative problem solving.  This is a landmark achievement which will lay the foundation for future efforts to address homelessness.  Broward County should be proud of this achievement,” said Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen.   

“I am so proud that this collaborative effort has produced such quick and humane results,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis. “The encampment at the library had represented our failure to adequately address homelessness. Now, the plaza illustrates what we can do when we work together. We provided a helping hand to the homeless who lived there – finding housing for them and setting them up with needed social services. We need to press ahead and use this as a model for ending homelessness throughout our community.” 

“The initiative follows the national best practice ‘Housing First’ model, a humane and compassionate approach that prioritizes getting unsheltered homeless individuals and families into stable housing with the supportive services necessary to ensure long-term success. Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis and I’m proud that our community recognizes its moral obligation to help,” Broward Commissioner Nan Rich, who serves as Chair of the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care Board. 

 “Helping so many people get back on their feet and on a path to housing and stability is an epic achievement for our community, done with dignity and humanity. AutoNation is grateful for the efforts of everyone involved and tremendously proud to be part of this initiative to end homelessness,” said Mike Jackson, AutoNation Chairman, CEO & President, and Co-Chair of the Broward Business Council on Homelessness. 

“Our success is the result of months of planning and millions of dollars contributed by numerous public and private partners who led by taking action and are driven by their caring hearts. We look forward to helping even more people throughout our community in the months ahead,” said James Donnelly, CEO of the Castle Group and Co-Chair of the Broward Business Council on Homelessness. 

“We are incredibly impressed with the work of the collaborative team to quickly and safely put residents of the encampment on a path to stable permanent housing. It’s so inspiring what can be accomplished when an entire community comes together to tackle a complex social issue,” said Kathleen Cannon, CEO of United Way of Broward County. 

Bob Swindell, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, said, “We are humbled to be part of this effort and owe a debt of gratitude to the business community for stepping up to lead and be the catalyst that brought new attention and much needed resources to assisting individuals experiencing homelessness. Though there is much work left to be done, our community can be proud.” 

Background

The Homelessness Collaborative in Broward, a coalition of county and city government, law enforcement, not-for-profit, faith-based and business leaders, was formed in April 2018, united in their desire to end homelessness in Broward County as we know it, beginning with the downtown encampment. Members created a comprehensive plan for helping individuals in the encampment find a path to safe, stable, permanent housing, with supportive services as needed. For many weeks, professional outreach teams visited with those in the encampment, assessing their needs and identifying resources required to meet them. 

  • On Monday, November 26, the Collaborative announced the start of the initiative with a news conference, and began to implement its plan. In the first day, 18 individuals experiencing homelessness left the encampment voluntarily, and nine tents were taken down with owner consent. By 4 p.m. Thursday, November 29, all 41 of the tents had been taken down and all 80 individuals relocated temporarily to nearby motels while individual housing plans were being finalized.

  • Four dogs and two cats belonging to individuals in the encampment were given rabies vaccinations, wellness checks and microchips so the pets could be safely housed with their owners. Owners were also given a supply of pet food, collars and leashes.

Moving Forward 

As Donnelly suggests, while the closure of the encampment is an important milestone, it is by no means the final chapter in this story.

  • Housing teams continue to move clients forward in the path to permanent housing. Outreach teams continue to address the needs not only of those who formerly stayed in the encampment, but also those who were not previously identified as residents of the encampment, who came to the encampment seeking services, and those experiencing homelessness in Broward County every day. There are at least 2,300 individuals experiencing homelessness in Broward County, according to the January 2018 Point-in-Time count.

  • Anyone experiencing homelessness encountered at the encampment during this process that has made themselves known to staff has either been accepted into the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care system for the first time, or their client histories have been updated for their most current needs.

  • Anyone experiencing homelessness in Broward County is urged to call the Homeless Helpline at 954-563-HELP (4357) to learn about services available through the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care. The Continuum of Care is funded by the Broward County Commission, who has previously allocated $13.8 million in county, state and federal funds toward home prevention services, and $23 million in county and federal funds in homeless intervention services, in addition to $1.2 million provided for the encampment project specifically.

How You Can Help


FIRST MILESTONE REACHED AT DOWNTOWN HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT

Thursday, November 29, 2018 

The Homelessness Collaborative in Broward announces that, with owner consent, the remaining tents have been removed from the downtown Fort Lauderdale encampment. Details will be available Friday morning as well as information about next steps.

The founding partners of the Homelessness Collaborative in Broward are Broward County, City of Fort Lauderdale, Broward Business Council on Homelessness, United Way of Broward County and the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care.

More than 40 partners have come together to reach this important milestone in our collaborative efforts to end homelessness in Broward County as we know it.

For more information on the Collaborative, visit Broward.org/EndHomelessness. For more information on the Business Council on Homelessness, visit UnitedWeEndHomelessness.org. You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook at BCHomelessness. Comments or questions, email AWayHome@Broward.org


A STATEMENT ON THE HOMELESSNESS COLLABORATIVE IN BROWARD

From Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis

November 26, 2018

This morning, the City of Fort Lauderdale joined with Broward County government and the Homelessness Collaborative in Broward to announce a major initiative to bring an end to homelessness in our downtown.

This partnership represents a thorough, holistic approach to homelessness. We are committed to working together to address this longtime community challenge in the most caring and compassionate way possible. I have high hopes for our success.

We have been planning this undertaking for more than six months with our partners. In putting this program together, we wanted to do our best to get it right. We took our time, we engaged outside experts, and we traveled to communities that have been successful in addressing homelessness. We obtained critical buy-in for our approach in advance. We are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

For too long, the encampment between the library and Stranahan Park has stood as a symbol of our community’s inability to adequately address the issue of homelessness. The people there live in miserable conditions.

Under the initiative launched today, we are helping place them in supportive housing through a rapid-rehousing program. We are combining housing with intensive case management in which individuals will receive assistance in finding work, recovering from substance abuse and overcoming health issues.

Our homeless partnership has identified housing units that are ready to be made available to those in need. For some, the stay may be temporary while they receive job assistance or go through recovery. For others, the housing will be permanent because of physical or mental health issues. In addition, we are committed to family reunification whenever possible and will make every attempt to seek out relatives that can assist.

Both the county and city are increasing how much we spend on homelessness so we can launch this program. In addition, we have received generous support from the private sector. Financial contributors have included AutoNation, BB&T, Bank of America and the Castle Group. While housing is costly, it is less expensive than the current hidden costs of homelessness borne by our hospitals and jails. The program should help reduce emergency room visits, as well as the rate of incarceration.

Communities are often judged by how they deal with their less fortunate. This is the type of humane approach that I’ve long said is needed. We will help these individuals while also ensuring we have a downtown that is safe and welcoming to residents, businesses and visitors.

Dean Trantalis signature 
Dean J. Trantalis
Mayor

Read a .pdf version of the Mayor's Statement pdf

Watch the Press Conference

Read Updates from the Homelessness Collaborative in Broward on activities regarding the downtown Fort Lauderdale encampment or receive them via email by subscribing here.

Learn more about The Homelessness Collaborative in Broward

 

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