Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 9, 2012, 4:06 p.m. EST by GirlFriday
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Last year, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $12 million from the state’s general revenue fund to the National Veterans’ Homeless Support Group for “homeless housing assistance grants.” This item was one of the many public assistance programs Scott axed.
According to federal and state labor statistics, government and academic studies, economic forecasts, and interviews with economic analysts — information that has not been widely reported — FCIR has found: There’s no evidence Scott’s policies are responsible for any of the new jobs in Florida over the past year. The jobless rate is falling because so many Floridians have stopped looking for work that they aren’t being counted anymore. Steep cuts in state spending have further squeezed the poor and unemployed, and in turn, the municipalities in which they live. The majority of new jobs are in the lowest-paying sectors. Wages have fallen for the poorest workers. Poverty has increased. Florida has one of the highest populations of uninsured in the country. Meanwhile, Scott has eliminated the corporate income tax for half the businesses that paid it, and is working on eliminating it for another quarter that still do. He has also rejected federal money to implement a new health care law he is opposed to, in both cases forgoing tens of millions of dollars.
Bloomberg's decision to transport the homeless out of New York City was a controversial idea, but it seems that the city of Fort Lauderdale is taking a page out of the same book with its newly approved $25,000 bus program. The program — much like Bloomberg's — aims to help the homeless by providing them with one-way bus tickets to relatives who are willing to take care of them. The program won't cost taxpayers a dime and is instead being paid for by money confiscated from criminals via the Florida law enforcement trust fund, according to CBS Miami. Overall, it seems that those living in Fort Lauderdale are supportive of the program, especially since there is no cost, and no people are being forced to leave the city. Nonetheless, is transporting homeless families out of a city the solution to homelessness? Should Orlando initiate a similar program, or could that $25,000 price tag be used to fund another, more long-term, program?
Arnold S. Cohen, the president and chief executive officer of the Partnership for the Homeless, an advocacy group in New York, considers moving the homeless as a mere cosmetic fix. It may look better for the city, but in reality the issue of homelessness hasn't changed.
"We're taking people from a shelter bed here to the living room couch of another family. Essentially, this family is still homeless," Cohen said in a report by The Times.
Cohen is absolutely right. Spending $25,000 on a transportation program for the homeless will not help these families find jobs, normal wages or security. It does nothing to end the cycle of poverty nor does it provide rehabilitation for those who might need it. Sure, that $25,000 is virtually free for the city of Fort Lauderdale to use, but do you know how Orlando uses money from the Florida law enforcement trust fund?
The city uses it to pay for initiatives like the Illegal Gun Bounty Program, a citywide effort to get illegal guns off the streets. These are the type of programs that have potential for a long-term impact on our community; asking the homeless to leave does not.
To be blunt, Orlando has even bigger issues to deal with when it comes to taking care of the homeless. You might remember members of the non-profit organization Food Not Bombs being arrested for feeding the homeless at Lake Eola. Then we have the growing childhood poverty rate of 25 percent, meaning that one in four children in Central Florida is homeless, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
If we want to end homelessness, it's going to take more than a bus ticket. It's going to take contributions of spare change, donations of old clothes and lobbying to our legislators to demand more for the middle class. This year, let's commit ourselves to being the change that we've been waiting for. If not now, then when? http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/opinion/one-way-tickets-not-solution-for-homeless-1.2683749#.TwtUMaWJf8E
Responding to the broadcast, state legislators announced a bipartisan effort to combat Florida’s homelessness crisis. State Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa, and Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, announced that they “filed legislation for the 2012 Florida legislative session that seeks to raise awareness and funding to help combat homelessness.” http://floridaindependent.com/63300/central-florida-child-homelessness
Awareness we have, funding is necessary. Not one dollar should be spent on "raising awareness". Every cent should be used for the homeless. If it is humanly possible it should not be fanned out to multiple organizations. While I applaud the fact that they are doing something, it is not fast enough and I wonder if it will be enough. Further, it should be a criminal offense for any city, town or county to deny food to the homeless. Attempted murder.