Concerned about the spread of COVID-19, residents demand that Broward County guarantee safe housing options for homeless population
Fort Lauderdale, FL – The City of Fort Lauderdale Commission is expected to meet on Tuesday, April 7th, at 6:00 p.m. to have a second vote to amend their current Ordinance Section 16-31 of the Code of Ordinances Prohibiting Unauthorized Camping on Public Property in Designated Areas, so they can start issuing citations and conducting arrests for people found living in homeless camps within “public property”, near schools or daycare facilities. The ordinance goes against common sense and CDC guidelines.
“While communities across the state are looking for leadership and bold solutions from their local leaders to fill the gaps of leadership in our state government, the City of Fort Lauderdale is taking measures to exacerbate the problem, putting Broward residents at risk and seeking to expand the prison population in the middle of a global pandemic,” said Bertisha Combs, Broward resident and South Florida Lead Organizer for the New Florida Majority. “There are solutions and funds that Broward County can leverage to keep everyone safe during this crisis.”
The New Florida Majority, together with other community organizations and leaders, sent a letter and started an online petition to elected officials in Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale demanding that the homeless population be treated with dignity and with assurances that solutions will be found to house them and keep everyone safe from COVID-19. The specific demands are:
- Reject the Fort Lauderdale ordinance seeking to disperse homeless encampments until safe housing and shelter in place solutions are ensured for every homeless individual living in those encampments
- Ensure that the encampments follow CDC rules until emergency shelters or safe housing solutions are available
- Open the BB&T Center, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, and other sports and event facilities that have received public funding as emergency homeless shelters, as mandated by Florida Statute 288.1166 and ensure dignity and safety for everyone sheltered there
- Seek a waiver to use existing SHIP funds to provide direct rental assistance for the homeless population and to meet other urgent needs they might have. Currently, Broward County has $20,500,575 in SHIP funding that can be used to rapidly solve this problem
Broward residents are expected to participate in the virtual City Commission meeting to voice their concerns and demands.