The Homeless Task Force of the Miami Downtown Development Authority studied chronic homelessness and, a year ago, issued a report outlining 17 recommendations for action. The primary item was to ask the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust to address the specific issues of Miami’s unique, chronic and persistent homeless population and to develop an action plan to reduce homelessness downtown.
There was also a call to increase emergency and permanent housing for homeless people, support of programs and facilities assisting homeless individuals suffering from mental illness and a review of the 1997 Pottinger settlement to address current conditions.
One year later, the people of Miami are still waiting for solutions to these issues. We are not alone in our plea. A December 2009 University of Central Florida report commissioned by the Homeless Trust recommended: “Increase the number of low-demand emergency beds so that people do not have to sleep in out-of-doors locations.”
If some segments of Miami’s homeless population resist available shelter beds because of programmatic restrictions, low-demand beds should be made available so that all can safely sleep indoors.
As chairman of the DDA task force, I praise the Homeless Trust for its amazing work over the past 20 years in providing shelter and hope for 90 percent of our community’s homeless population. Now it is time to launch an action plan addressing the remaining 10 percent — add the necessary beds and do what needs to be done to end chronic homelessness in Miami-Dade County.
Rolando Montoya, chairperson, Miami DDA Homeless Task Force,