Homelessness

THE PROBLEM:

Palm Beach County has a homelessness crisis.

  1. There are 4,414 homeless children in Palm Beach County (Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County)
  2. In Palm Beach County, 8,210 homeless adults accessed healthcare services in 2017 (Health Care District, Public Records Request 2017)
  3. 135,510 families pay more than 50% of their income for housing. 60,306 of these families are making less than 30% AMI and of those families, 20,323 are senior citizens (Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida)
  4. 67,476 families make 30% or below the Area Median Income (AMI) - for a family of 4, this means $25,100 per year (Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida)
  5. There are only 19 affordable housing units for every 100 families making less than 30% of AMI (Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida)
  6. 42,886 families live in substandard housing – no fuel used, lacking complete kitchen facilities, lacking complete plumbing facilities, or more than 1 person per room (Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, University of Florida)
  7. The Lewis Center, the only central intake and resource center for the homeless, has 66 Beds (Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County) 

THE SOLUTION / WHERE WE ARE:

In 2016, as part of the 1% Sales Tax Proposal, the County put forward a plan that called for:

  1. $5.7 Million for a second Homeless Resource Center
  2. $25.5 Million for the creation of units for extremely low-income and homeless.

County staff was telling us it would open in 2022. Given that their expired Ten Year Plan (approved in 2008) had called for the creation of 3 Homeless Resource Centers, we decided that the second one was long overdue and we would make pushing for its creation a priority.

County staff had also changed the plan for the $25 million for housing units. Originally supposed to be for units for households making under 30% AMI, a plan they presented in February changed that figure to households making less than 80% AMI.

At our Action Assembly on April 8th, we secured commitments from Mayor Bernard and County Commissioners McKinlay and Valeche to approve the “site” of the second Homeless Resource Center when it comes before them for a vote on June 18th. From Mayor Bernard and Commissioners Weiss and McKinlay, we secured a commitment to protect at least $10.5 million of the $25 million for households making less than 30% AMI.