Poverty

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. 

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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

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Diana Aviv fed 46 million people last year. I nearly fell over to hear that almost 15% of our population is food insecure. This is the United States! We are the richest country in the world, but it’s true. We are a country filled with people who cannot reliably feed themselves nor their children.

Diana is the CEO of Feeding America and her organization keeps food on the shelves in 60,000 food pantries across the U.S. To put that in perspective, I looked up the number of CVS pharmacies: 9,600. What about the number of McDonald’s? They seem to be everywhere, but there are only 14,100 or so. Hunger is everywhere, in every state, in every county, in every congressional district.

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Once again I have the Peace Corps to thank for making me think differently about the world, but this time it’s a part of the world that’s right next door to me. I just got home from a great day in my beautiful backyard, the Everglades, thanks to the protection of the National Park Service….It was only as I was driving home that I began to realize that a trip to the Everglades is something that struggling inner city families cannot even begin to afford.

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