2,237 people turned out to our Nehemiah Action Assembly in March of 2016, and we plan on bringing together 3,000 people on April 3rd to ask for specific winnable solutions in the areas of Youth Arrests, Homelessness, and Community IDs.
We have a Homelessness CRISIS in Palm Beach County.
There are 3,750 homeless CHILDREN in Palm Beach County.
The Health Care District reports that 8,000 homeless people accessed their clinics last year.
And while there are incredible private service providers doing their best to address this crisis, our homeless continue to suffer because our County has failed to make this crisis a top priority. The problem is simple – there’s not enough funding, the funding and approval process is far too complicated, and the end result is that the homeless suffer.
We want the County to hire someone at the Deputy County Administrator level whose sole job is to address the homelessness crisis. This person would be tasked with pursuing and administering funding, and coming up with a plan that would add 200+ beds per year.
Arresting our kids for first time misdemeanors must stop!
Because of PEACE, 200 fewer children were arrested last year – saving $900,000 in taxpayer dollars!
However, too many of our kids are still being arrested for misdemeanors. Last year, over 300 children were eligible for civil citations, but were arrested instead.
An arrest record haunts them for life – preventing them from being able to get jobs, housing, scholarships to college, etc. Also, arrests for misdemeanors can lead to the child entering a downward spiral of more and more serious crimes.
Children should not be arrested for committing a misdemeanor. Two years ago, PEACE and its sister organizations got the state bill changed to make these children who commit first, second and third time misdemeanors eligible for a civil citation. However, jurisdictions in Palm Beach County only issue civil citations for youth who commit first time misdemeanors – leading to hundreds of unnecessary arrests.
We plan on asking State Attorney Dave Aronberg and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio to issue civil citations to all children who commit first time misdemeanors, and to some second and third time misdemeanants as well.
Everyone deserves the dignity an ID provides.
In 2014, approximately 500 undocumented residents were taken to jail for the sole offense of driving without a license – because they could not provide an accepted form of identification.
Because of PEACE’s work to get our Sheriff to accept consular IDs as valid identification, 156 fewer immigrants were taken to Jail last year for the sole offense of driving without a license – saving their dignity, and $780,000 in unnecessary incarceration costs.
But, of the 67,000 undocumented immigrants living in Palm Beach County, 26,000 are from countries which do not issue consular IDs in South Florida. They still live in fear of being taken to Jail for the sole offense of driving without a license.
Having gotten Sheriff Bradshaw to accept consular IDs as valid identification, we will be asking our County Commissioners to fund a local nonprofit (Legal Aid Society) to create and administer a Community IDs program. This will enable those whose countries do not issue a consular ID, to also have access to an accepted form of identification.