2,485 people turned out to our Nehemiah Action Assembly in April of 2017, and we plan on bringing together 3,000 people on April 16th of 2018 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 4,000 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.
At our Action, 4 County Commissioners committed to hire someone whose sole job is to address the homelessness crisis, and to task this person a goal of adding 300 new homeless beds a year, beginning in 2018. We are working with Commissioner Bernard on a plan to bring this forward for approval.
Arresting our kids for first time misdemeanors must stop!
Over the last three years, we have secured commitments from local law enforcement agencies to give all children a civil citation instead of an arrest for first time misdemeanors. At the state level, along with our sister DART organizations, we got the state statute around civil citations changed, such that children who commit second and third time misdemeanors are also eligible for a civil citation.
As a result – arrests have decreased by approximately 5,000 per year at the state level, and approximately 300 per year locally.
This year, we will be working to get more of our local law enforcement agencies using civil citations, as well as researching the possibility of expanding the civil citation diversion programs in Palm Beach County.
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. At our Nehemiah Action, we asked 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. We are working with Commissioner Kerner to bring the allocation of funds for this program to a vote.
In September, Commissioner Kerner led the Commission in approving the funds for the Program, but he also referred this program for “vetting” to the Criminal Justice Commission. The CJC establish an ad-hoc committee, that met twice. They voted to recommend the program for approval to the larger CJC, pending resolution of an issue having to do with record-keeping. It is preliminarily headed to the Board of County Commissioners for a final vote in early 2018.