By Kimberly Maroe
Public Information Manager Broward County Commission
BROWARD COUNTY, FL — An innovative and successful homeless housing effort, sweeping across communities nationwide, will soon be in place in Broward County. In fact, beginning Oct. 31, 2013, Broward County will be the training ground for the 100,000 Homes Campaign.
The goal is to identify and register the most vulnerable and chronically homeless and prioritize their needs for home placement.
The chronically homeless are those we see on the street each day; as we know many have mental health issues with little to no capability to help themselves.
Programs that will put be in place in the coming months will allow us to have our chronically homeless off the streets by 2015, with substantial improvement during the next year. Broward’s new Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) will be used to register the neediest among the homeless. This will help us track who is out there, prioritize their needs and assist in identifying housing opportunities,” said Broward Vice Mayor Barbara Sharief, who initiated a Commission approved partnership with the Broward Sheriff’s Office to fund the system.
In Broward County alone, there were 413 Chronically Homeless Individuals and Families counted in the January Homeless Point in Time Count.
In partnership with the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, Palm Beach County and the Broward Homeless Initiative Partnership, Boot Camp training for communities interested in the 100,000 Homes effort will be trained over a two day period at the Anne Kolb Nature Center, 751 Sheridan St. in Hollywood. Training takes place from 8:30 am to 5 pm both days and trainees have registered from across Florida.
Members of the campaign will learn how to create a by-name registry of homeless people, line up a supply of available housing and resources to service the chronic homeless. “November is National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month and we want to start now to bring attention to the cause. While the Home-less Point-in-Time Count used to be conducted every other year, we are now doing this annually to get better results that help meet the more stringent requirements from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Michael Wright, administrator of the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership.
The effort is unique, in its three strategies: identify every homeless person on the streets by name, track and measure local housing rates working to house at 2.5 percent of the chronically homeless each month, join the nationwide Campaign to partner in resources and improving systems.