Hurricane Irma taught me that Miami-Dade County needs a different sort of emergency response plan for low income neighborhoods. That plan should include community-based organizations as part of the response. It must acknowledge that the financial burden of preparing for emergencies leaves low income families even more vulnerable. These communities need a more thorough response. A storm shouldn’t allow them to slip further down the economic ladder.
I’m trying to make sure I understand just how hard it is for so many families to make ends meet in Florida, especially in Miami. To help me remember it better, let’s call it a straight $25. That’s how much a person would need to earn per hour to afford a two bedroom apartment, spending the recommended 30% of their income on rent. Guess what minimum wage is? $8.05 an hour. Guess what the average renter earns per hour? $15.46
The price of housing is out of control in the county. It doesn’t matter your socio-economic class or your education level. It’s just plain expensive to live here. It’s costly if you are a teacher or a college grad or a cop. It’s The Miami Herald reports on it all the time. They say that Miami is one of the least affordable cities for teachers. They say that Hialeah is the least affordable for renters with Miami coming in at #2. Businesses worry about a brain drain because young college educated workers can’t find a decent place to live
Many of you can attest to the fact that I returned from my visit to Cornell University’s PCCW Feeding the World Sustainably conference fired up to understand more about how many people are food insecure. I decided to start right here in my own Floridian backyard.
It was when I met Paco Velez, CEO of Feeding South Florida that I learned just why their warehouse was stacked floor to ceiling with banana boxes. Bananas are the #1 selling item in grocery stores, which means there are lots of empty banana boxes donated to food banks to reuse.