Pre-County Hearing Press Conference Highlight Gaps in Proposed County Budget that Neglects Neighborhoods & Leaves Too Many Families Open to Exploitation After Irma
Miami – Grassroots leaders who have worked in low-income and other vulnerable communities before and through Hurricane Irma have one message to those overseeing on this year’s County Budget Hearings: You must do more.
Leaders hosted a press conference before the County Hearings detailed their recommendations based on the work they have done over the last two weeks to help communities prepare and survive one of the worst storms to hit South Florida in 25 years.
“We should not let a zip code determine how equipped a community is to weather intense storms,” Andrea Mercado, Executive director of the New Florida Majority. “This storm should be a wake-up call that we have to do more to keep all our neighbors safe.”
LIST OF DEMANDS
Organizations are demanding the following changes in the county budget post-Hurricane Irma.
- No. 1: Equity in Emergency Response
The County should set aside $500,000 in the Emergency Contingency Reserve Fund so that local, grassroots organizations can help vulnerable communities prepare and respond to storms. The events of this past week have demonstrated that county agencies have failed to adequately plan and protect our front-line communities. In response, grassroots organizations with deep roots and relationships in these communities came together and created Community Emergency Operations Centers (CEOC), putting essential resources quickly within reach for low income communities of color at the neighborhood level.
- No. 2: Power for All
The FPL franchise resources collected by the County should be allocated to immediately provide generators and cooling centers for vulnerable populations without power after the storm. An historical lack of maintenance and investment in the infrastructure of low-income neighborhoods have left too many Miamians, without power in the oppressive September heat. It’s a life-threatening condition that has not only claimed innocent lives, but also left households scrambling for basic needs such as food, water, ice, and electricity.
- No. 3: Act On Climate
Action is needed NOW on climate. The county must follow through on $130 million in unfunded stormwater projects to protect the most vulnerable, from natural disasters, flooding, and other climate-related disruptions. A commitment must also be made to fund a weatherization program to reduce the energy costs of the low-income communities and prepare them for solar.
- No. 4: Stop Transit Cuts
The Mayor’s proposed $25 million in transit cuts must be stopped. A transit system that was barely adequate in getting residents to shelters must be improved to ensure that everyone has a chance to survive before a storm and get to work on time after conditions have normalized.
- No. 5: Affordable Housing Now
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund must be funded at the Board mandated $10 million level. Every Miamian deserves to have safe, storm resistant affordable housing in their own neighborhood. When families have secure housing, communities and cities can thrive socially and economically.