Miami Herald: After shelter chaos during Irma, Miami-Dade replacing Red Cross with county workers

June 4 – NewFM Executive Director Andrea Mercado was quoted in Doug Hanks’ June 4th story about  Miami-Dade County’s decision to have county workers run hurricane shelters instead of the Red Cross.  

…..Elderly residents of affordable-housing complexes were stuck in sweltering upper-floor apartments after Irma knocked out electricity in the region for days. Community groups and non-profits criticized Miami-Dade for not being prepared to help vulnerable residents. New Florida Majority, an advocacy group generally aligned with liberal issues, ran a food bank for storm victims after Irma and led demands for more attention to low-income neighborhoods for the next storm.

Andrea Mercado, New Florida Majority’s director, called the legislation a “great start” because having an air-conditioned refuge would have been welcome for some hard-hit buildings after Irma.

“What we saw after the storm was people do need places just to cool down. Having a place where you can charge your phone, and have a room where you can cool down, is an important step,” she said. Even so, Mercado noted the rules would only apply to large new projects for senior housing, and not address tax-funded buildings housing families

“We need to find how all of our vulnerable residents can get access to food and water” after a storm, she said.