The Covid-19 pandemic unveiled the widespread suffering many in Miami-Dade County continue to face daily due to a lack of stable housing, adequately-paid jobs, and affordable healthcare. On top of this, 2020 put a nationwide spotlight on police brutality, particularly after the brutal murder of George Floyd. Motivated by these realities, hundreds of Miami-Dade County residents bravely shared their vision for less criminalization and more housing, social services, environmental protections, and critical community programs at the 2020-21 Miami-Dade County budget hearings.
The response these residents received from elected officials exposed Miami-Dade County’s democracy problem: When citizens speak out and share their vision for progress, they face ridicule by the very leaders they elected into office.
However, those residents planted promising seeds.
Thanks to the work of Divest/Invest Miami, starting in 2021 the county began engaging the public in its budget process six months earlier than in years past. In addition, the county launched its Thrive305 initiative, which consisted of community surveys, workshops, and focus groups to make sure the next four years of budget priorities align with community priorities.
To join Divest/Invest Miami and get involved in the budget process, please email [email protected]
Divest/Invest Miami has successfully advocated for over $40 million in community wins since 2020:
- $175K for the establishment of the Office of the Tenant Advocate, as well as $160K for two support staff positions
- $7.9M in funding for current and future affordable housing projects, and $4M for resiliency investments in existing affordable housing
Public Health & Safety
- $8.9M for establishment of a Community Violence and Intervention Program
- $802K for the transfer of staff from Corrections to Office of Neighborhood Safety to bring together residents, community stakeholders, and county representatives to address gun violence, revitalize public spaces, improve community infrastructure, and minimize the need for residents to interact with the criminal justice system
- A community ID ordinance for Miami-Dade, with $210K dedicated to a community ID program
- Reduced phone call costs from $.17/min to $.05/min, putting $3.5M backed into the hands of families of the incarcerated in the Miami-Dade County Jail System
- $10M for mental health services, as well as a Mental Health Diversion Facility to provide a full continuum of care and assist individuals with mental illnesses diverted from the criminal justice system
- $200K for LEAP, a non-profit organization offering transformational opportunities, programs, services and advocacy to women who have experienced incarceration
- A 36% decrease in general funds dedicated towards the Miami-Dade County Police Department, and a 41% decrease dedicated to the Corrections Department between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 budgets
- An increase of $1.02M in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), expected to help approximately 22,979 residents pay electric bills
- $100K allocated to fund a full-time Chief Heat Officer, the first in the country
- $578K for the Weatherization Assistance Program, which enables 38 low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient
- $100K for the Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF) non-profit organization that offers financing programs for residents to make energy improvements at their residence
- $500K to support efforts relating to the Resilient305 Strategy, a partnership to address resilience challenges in our communities, including sea level rise, an insufficient transportation system, the lack of affordable housing and infrastructure failures