Pages tagged "News"
New Report Ranks Florida among Worst in Nation for High Number of Workers in Low-wage Jobs
January 29, 2015
New Report Ranks Florida among Worst in Nation for High Number of Workers in Low-wage Jobs
Prompt Response from Florida Lawmakers Needed to Improve Financial Security of Residents
Washington, D.C. — Despite an improving national employment picture, Florida ranks among the worst in the nation when it comes to providing residents with stable, decent-paying jobs. According to a report released today by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), 32.2% of jobs in Florida are in occupations where the median annual pay is below the poverty line of $23,283 for a family of four.
CFED’s 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard ranks Florida 43rd for its percentage of low-wage jobs and 41st for residents’ average annual pay ($44,179). Additionally, the state ranks 40th for the number of underemployed workers, defined as part-time workers looking for full-time jobs and discouraged workers who have stopped searching for employment.
The Scorecard offers the most comprehensive look available at American’s ability to save and build wealth, fend off poverty and create a more prosperous future. The Scorecard provides rankings for the 50 states and District of Columbia on both the ability of residents to achieve financial security and policies designed to help them get there. Florida ranks in the bottom half of the country with an outcome ranking of 39 and an overall policy ranking of 28.
The bleak employment and wage data underscore the need for policies that will help low-wage workers improve their financial security.
“Passing legislation that would increase the minimum wage is imperative to raise the incomes of our lowest paid workers, but Florida also needs to consider a range of measures that will help these workers keep more of the money they earn,” says Alice Vickers, Executive Director for the Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection and a board member of the Florida Prosperity Partnership, an Assets & Opportunity Network lead organization. “Those efforts should include expanding free tax preparation services offered by Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, which help low-income workers access benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, while avoiding costly fees charged by commercial and unregulated tax preparers.”
The 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard evaluates how residents are faring across 67 outcome measures in five different issue areas—Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education. Florida receives a “D” when it comes to Financial Assets & Income, driven in part by the low percentage of households with savings accounts (40th), the high percentage of consumers with subprime credit (41st), and the high percentage of borrowers 90 days or more past due on debt payments (45th). The Sunshine State also receives a “D” in both Housing & Homeownership and Businesses & Jobs, an “F” in Health Care and a “C” in Education.
The Scorecard also evaluates 68 different policy measures to determine how well states are addressing the challenges facings residents. Florida ranks 28 th overall in policy ranks, underscoring the link between inadequate policies and ongoing challenges confronting the state’s low- and moderate-income families. Florida ranked in the bottom half of states in two out of the five policy categories assessed by the Scorecard, including Education (ranked 34th ) and Health Care (ranked 39 th). The state did slightly better in two other issue areas—Financial Assets & Income (ranked 28th) and Businesses & Jobs (ranked 23rd). Housing & Homeownership policies, where Florida ranked 3rd, were the only relative bright spot.
Nationally, the Scorecard data finds millions of Americans have been left out of the economic recovery with little opportunity to take charge of their financial lives or plan for a more secure future. Large percentages of these households are experiencing profound levels of exclusion from the financial mainstream as they struggle in low-wage jobs and are forced to rely on fringe, often high-cost financial services just to make ends meet. Among the key findings:
Low-wage jobs have increased in all but two states. Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., saw decreases in average annual pay between 2012 and 2013.
Nationally, 56% of consumers have subprime credit scores, meaning they cannot qualify for credit or financing at prime rates and are more likely to use costly alternative financial products. One in five households regularly relies on fringe financial services, such as payday loans, to meet their needs.
Liquid asset poverty rates – the percentage of households with less than three months of savings at the poverty level – are particularly high in states with the greatest levels of income inequality. This trend is most evident in poor states in the South and Southwest and high-cost states on the East and West coasts, all of which have large populations of color. If families can’t save, closing the wealth gap is all but impossible.
In 34 states, the gap in homeownership rates between households of color and white households has widened. The 10 states where the gap is greatest are Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, New Jersey and Kentucky.
High-cost (or subprime) mortgage loans—one of the main culprits behind the housing boom and bust—are on the rise. The percentage of homeowners with high-cost mortgages is higher in 42 states than it was in 2010.
“The economic recovery experienced by some segments of our society is barely a blip in the lives of millions of Americans who continue to struggle in low-wage jobs and have little ability to save and build a better future for themselves and their children,” said Andrea Levere, president of CFED. “In far too many cases, these households are living outside the financial mainstream, relegated to using often high-cost financial services that trap them in a cycle of debt and financial insecurity.”
To read an analysis of key findings from the 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, click here. To access the complete Scorecard, visit http://assetsandopportunity.org/scorecard. Visit our media resources page for interactive data tools, including our asset poverty calculator, downloadable infographics, customizable charts and maps, and other data visualizations.
Interested in connecting with the local Assets & Opportunities Lead Organization? Connect with us today!
Assets & Opportunity Scorecard to Arm Advocates with Data to Promote Financial Security
In order to advance policies that empower families to be part of the financial mainstream,
FACT SHEET: White House Unveils New Steps to Strengthen Working Families Across America
Treating chronic illness with cough syrup: Life in the coverage gap
By: Danielle Paquette
Genesis Matos Rodriguez wakes at 6:30 a.m. and shuffles to the kitchen, where garlic ropes hang on beige walls. Air cleansers, her grandmother calls them. Her mom lays out Robitussin cough syrup and a glass of Alka-Seltzer, substitutes for the prescription pills they can no longer afford.
Rodriguez was born with asthma and Middle Lobe Syndrome, which causes mucus to build in her lungs. Two years ago, her right lung collapsed; surgeons removed half. Her monthly medical bill to ward off fluids, including Pulmozyme and Albuterol, can hit $4,000.
She slipped into what policy analysts call the coverage gap. Three months before her 20th birthday, on an otherwise ordinary July day, the state declared Rodriguez independent and no longer eligible for Medicaid. Her mother, legally the head of their household, made $9,000 last year working part-time — a few thousand dollars short of qualifying the family for premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly 4 million Americans and 800,000 Floridians live in this limbo of patchwork health care: They are not eligible for Medicaid; they don’t make enough money to afford ACA coverage. Florida, like many states that recently elected (or reelected) Republican governors, has decided not to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.
As a result, many low-income Americans with chronic illnesses are bracing to make it work for the next four years — or simply through the day. They swap prescriptions for CVS bargains. They rely on family remedies: whiskey for a sore throat, tea leaves for asthma. They tumble into debt when an ailment demands medical attention.
“They come to us with high hopes,” said Santra Denis, community health director of the nonprofitCatalyst Miami, “and expect to find a solution, a way to get insurance. We have to let them down.”
On this December morning, Rodriguez drowns her over-the-counter medley with red Powerade. She sits at a wooden table and breathes into the plastic nozzle of a Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilator. Bursts of air and medicine open her airways. Medicaid funded the $10,000 machine. Refills, however, still cost hundreds. She often skips the recommended daily doses to extend her supply.
The sun climbs over Little Havana, creeping through her blinds, touching the poster of a white Porsche Cayenne and, above her bed, advice from her favorite writer, Henry Miller: “Every man has his destiny; the only imperative is to follow it, to accept it.”
Her destiny, Rodriguez believes, starts with auto mechanic training — with or without health insurance.Even if car fumes trigger asthma attacks. Even if asthma attacks send her to the emergency room. Even if a mere upper respiratory infection kept her home last week.
She quit running to avoid coughing fits. She ditched salsa dancing at the Batting Cage. She missed Art Basel, the annual Miami gallery parties.
But she won’t give up school.
Before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, Medicaid eligibility requirements differed across the country. A low-income family could qualify for the benefit in California, for example, and lose coverage if they moved to Texas. In most states, poor adults without children did not qualify for Medicaid.
Obamacare sought to curb the nation’s eligibility discrepancies with the Medicaid expansion, opening coverage to people earning 138 percent of the federal poverty line — and providing health insurance to millions more poor Americans.
But the Supreme Court struck down the provision, granting states the power to opt out. Twenty-seven states have since expanded Medicaid eligibility, providing no-cost care to a larger pool of low-income workers. Florida has not.
Democratic leaders say the expansion was meant to protect poor adults, who typically have no safety net unless they become parents. Republican leaders argue that it could strain state budgets and discourage people from working.
The coverage gap became a hot-button issue in Florida during last year’s midterm elections. Then-gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, a Democrat, vowed to fight for the Medicaid expansion.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, emerged as a reluctant symbol in Florida’s Medicaid debate. In September, Cristvisited her apartment, a subsidized housing unit above a public library. Her mother, Mariamee (who works part-time for minimum wage and also lacks insurance) sent him a letter about her family’s conundrum: “We’re too rich for Medicaid, too poor for Obamacare.” (Rodriguez missed the politician for school. She had a quiz.)
Crist lost to Gov. Rick Scott by a narrow margin. Scott, a conservative, publicly supports the expansion but has done little to push it through the Florida legislature. When he was reelected in November, Mariamee recalls Rodriguez saying: “That’s it. I’m dead.”
That month, Rodriguez applied for disability insurance, her last-ditch hope for stable coverage until she graduates from auto mechanic training in June and, hopefully, lands a full-time job with benefits.
Weeks later, she caught the respiratory infection, couldn’t breathe and landed in the emergency room. The trip cost about $1,900. The antibiotics, $170. Mariamee sent the bills to the Department of Children and Families, which reopened her daughter’s Medicaid through Florida’s Medically Needy Program for the remainder of the month.
On New Year’s day, Rodriguez lost her insurance again. Mariamee started collecting January bills to send to DCF and prove her daughter’s need again. That week, the state denied Rodriguez’s disability application.
“It’s like they need you to be in bed, covered in tubes,” Mariamee said. “It’s like they need you to quit school and become a coach potato and lose any progress you’ve made for this to happen.”
This afternoon is Rodriguez’s first day back to class since the respiratory infection struck. Anxiety grips her:I’m at least three lessons behind, she thinks. The five-pound “Modern Automotive Technology” textbook in her crossbody satchel helps. Learning, however, clicks in the garage.
She’s the only woman in her class at Braman Motors Miami, a partner of the Lindsey Hopkins Technical Center, and starts a year-long internship this month at a Braman dealership. Someday, she wants to open her own body shop.
For now, she works on her ’94 Honda Civic: Beastie, a near-junkyard purchase for $1,000. She painted it matte black and installed red rims. It’s not ready to drive — yet. For now, she takes the bus.
Rodriguez ties her dark, waist-length curls into a topknot. Mists herself with Axe Body Spray, “just like a man.” Buttons up her blue, short-sleeved mechanic’s uniform, which hides the tattoo over her heart: Veni, vidi, vici.
“Stay warm, okay?” Mariamee calls. “Come home if you keep coughing.”
“I’ll be fine, mom.”
“You have your inhaler?”
“I’ll be fine.”
Nearly 55 percent of Americans in the coverage gap work part-time or full-time, according to Kaiser data. Two-thirds live in a household with at least one breadwinner. The majority work for firms with less than 50 employees, which aren’t legally required to provide health coverage. Seventeen percent live in Florida, Kaiser reported. Many earn minimum wage. Many can barely afford to pay the rent.
Florida, like most states that did not expand Medicaid, offers no assistance to people without dependent children, except in rare cases. Young adults who grew up receiving the benefit often stop seeing their regular doctors once coverage halts.
When Crist lost in November, Catalyst Miami’s Denis said, reality sank in. Floridians, she believes, will likely stay four more years in the coverage gap: “We felt defeated.” She works with 400 clients monthly. Ninety percent, Denis said, fall in the coverage gap. She can connect them to charities. To free mammograms, for example. But some require surgeries.
“IT’S LIKE THEY NEED YOU TO BE IN BED, COVERED IN TUBES,” MARIAMEE SAID. “IT’S LIKE THEY NEED YOU TO QUIT SCHOOL AND BECOME A COACH POTATO AND LOSE ANY PROGRESS YOU’VE MADE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN.”
“It’s the norm around here,” she said. “We see people who’ve always gone to doctors and need their prescriptions. … They lose access to that and don’t have a way to get it back.”
Shahriar Shahzeidi, a Miami pediatric pulmonologist, has treated Rodriguez for nearly five years. Dozens of his patients, he says, live in the murky world between Medicaid and subsidies.
“Many are worse off than Genesis,” he says. “Many need a ventilator, which keep them breathing. Or maintenance on a ventilator. … There are countless needs not being met.”
Shasehdi wrote a recommendation letter to Florida’s Department of Social Security: “Genesis’s condition is chronic. … There is no cure. [It could] interfere with her daily life and job.” He worries about patients who search for insurance without relief. He watches them fall out of jobs, into hospital beds — and into debt.
“Genesis is a very careful person,” Shasehdi said. “She goes out of her way to avoid environmental allergens. But, I tell her, she needs to stay on her medicine. If she doesn’t take her medicine properly. … Within six months, I’d expect she’ll lose another part of a lung.”
Today’s lesson in Braman Motors Miami garage: Build a circuit. Rodriguez jots shorthand instructions on her right wrist:
She puts on plastic goggles and studies a printed diagram. Students in black work boots stand below an elevated PT Cruiser, fiddling with red gauge wire. Someone whistles “Pop Goes the Weasel.” A poster on the gray wall reads: DRIVEN.
“Wanna work together?” a classmate asks.
Rodriguez nods. They put the wire in a vice. She holds one end in her pink glitter fingertips. He aims the soldering gun. Smoke rises. Into her nose. Into her throat.
“Ah! It smells bad. Burnt plastic.”
The coughing starts. Rodriguez forces it down. Her mind wanders to a class she missed last week. Her classmates fashioned metal into rings. She stayed home playing Kingdom Hearts.
“I wanted to be here when you guys made jewelry,” she tells her classmate. “That would have been my favorite class.”
He laughs. The urge to cough vanishes. Victory, for now. She reaches for the soldering gun. Her turn. “It’s really soft metal,” Rodriguez says, staring up-close at the wire. “It melts really fast.”
In these moments, she forgets her lungs. She thinks about her Honda Civic, Beastie. She’ll fix the push-start button soon. The cylinders next. The process, like her health-care options, will be slow and uncertain.
She will apply soon to body shops across South Florida — or get hired at Braman, if she’s lucky. She will send medical bills each month to the state and hope to qualify for the Medically Needy Program. She will start sick days with Robitussin and Alka-Seltzer.
Catalyst Miami Receives Basic Human Services Grant from Bank of America Charitable Foundation
December 31, 2014
Reporters May Contact:
South Florida rated most cash-poor metro in nation
The high cost of living in South Florida leaves people more vulnerable to a financial crisis than anywhere in the country, a new study concludes.
Of the nation's 35 largest metros, the tri-county area has the highest percentage of households that don't have enough cash or other liquid assets to pay for three months of expenses, according to data compiled by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a non-profit in Washington, D.C., that promotes economic opportunity for families.
Some 48.9 percent of families in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties don't have $5,876 in bank, investment and retirement accounts — the amount the study says even an impoverished family of four needs for three months of expenses.
"Five years into the economic recovery, most American families no longer live in fear of losing their jobs or their homes," the study says. "Yet, these families continue to exist in a state of persistent financial insecurity, making it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future."
Nearly half of South Floridians stand one financial emergency away from poverty, researchers concluded, based on census data.
Many families take home $50,000 to $75,000 a year — well above South Florida's $46,946 median income — but they have little to no savings, said Lebaron Sims, research manager for the Corporation for Enterprise Development, which partnered with nonprofits Citi Community Development and Catalyst Miami to conduct the study.
The cost of living in South Florida consumes their paychecks, he said. "It's just not the people on the fringes. It's your neighbors," Sims said.
Miami-Dade families face the toughest challenge, Nearly six of 10 households in the county are cash poor, the report found.
Forty-five percent of the households inBroward County and 38 percent in Palm Beach County fall into that category, according to the research.
Housing costs prevent many people from building cash reserves, Sims said.
The cost of housing in South Florida averages $16,212 annually, accounting for nearly 40 percent of an average household's expenses, compared with 33.2 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sarah Nunez, a Hair Cuttery hairdresser in Southwest Ranches, says she can't afford to live near her job. So she lives in a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment in Hialeah with her daughter and parents. Her rent in the past two years has risen $200 to $1,050 a month, Nunez said.
Higher costs mean she has to go without to pay her bills. The single mom would like, for example, to buy a $40 pair of shoes for work, but "I can't even afford them." She said she recently had to borrow money to pay living expenses, promising to pay friends back when she gets her income tax refund. "It's crazy," she said.
The housing bust in South Florida created economic stress not just for owners forced out of homes but for all renters who face rising rent, researcher Sims said.
Apartment rents in the West Palm Beach area rose 9.1 percent in November from the year before, according to Axiometrics, a rental housing analyst in Dallas. Rents in the Fort Lauderdale area rose 6.1 percent. Both surpassed the national average of 4.7 percent, Axiometrics said in a study released Tuesday.
Landlords are able to raise rents easily because rental units are in high demand, said Axiometrics spokesman Ross Coulter. Apartments in both counties are about 95 percent full, he said.
Greg Goodman of Delray Beach said he sold his condo unit at a loss last year and ended up renting — only to find his complex wanted to raise his monthly rent this year by $200. "I said you've got to be kidding me," said Goodman, a communications manager. He said he negotiated an increase of less than half what the complex originally asked for.
He said he still must watch his expenses closely.
Overall, inflation here runs ahead of the nation's. South Florida's consumer price index for all urban consumers increased 2.2 percent in October from a year ago, compared with the nation's 1.7 percent rise for the same period, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Report: Nearly 60 percent of households in Miami-Dade are one financial emergency away from poverty
By: Ina Paiva Cordle
|Nearly 60 percent of Miami-Dade County households — and 67 percent of Miami households — do not have enough savings to live at the poverty level for three months if they lose a job, face a medical crisis or suffer another emergency that leaves them without a steady income, according to a report released Tuesday by Family Assets Count, a project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, in partnership with Citi Community Development and Catalyst Miami.
The data also showed that 54 percent of households in Miami and Miami-Dade with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 are “liquid asset” poor, meaning they live in a state of persistent financial insecurity.
In addition, 28 percent of Miami residents do not have a savings or checking account — more than double the rate for Miami-Dade County (11 percent) and more than three times the national rate (8.2 percent). And 17 percent of households in the county and 26 percent of those in the city have a bank account, but still relied in the past year on alternative financial services such as payday loans, according to the report.
Nearly 60% of Households in Miami-Dade County Are One Financial Emergency Away from Falling into Poverty
For Immediate Release
December 16, 2014
Kristin Lawton/Amy Saltzman, CFED: 202-207-0137/301-656-0348
Carla Moreira Strickland, Catalyst Miami: 786-414-1292
Miami – Nearly 60% of Miami-Dade County households (and 67% of Miami households) do not have enough savings to live at the poverty level for just three months if they lose a job, face a medical crisis or suffer another emergency that leaves them without a steady income, according to data released today by Family Assets Count, a project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), in partnership with Citi Community Development and Catalyst Miami.
These families live in a state of persistent financial insecurity – known as “liquid asset poverty.” In Miami and Miami-Dade County, fully 54% of households with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 (well above the median household incomes in both places) are liquid asset poor. Communities of color fair even worse in both the city and county: 69% of African American households and 67% of Hispanic households are liquid asset poor in Miami-Dade County. This is compared to 79% and 74% for the respective communities in the city of Miami.
The full report including city and county data was presented today at the Imagine Miami conference at Temple Israel. The community effort, hosted by Catalyst Miami, connects individuals, organizations and businesses to improve quality of life in Miami-Dade County and build hope through the use of true stories of people making a difference.
families face,” said Gretchen Beesing, CEO of Catalyst Miami. “The inability to bounce back from financial pitfalls not only hurts Miami families, it stifles the region’s long-term economic growth.”
“We hope these data ring as a clarion call to action for policymakers who have an important role to play in improving financial security for families in Miami and region-wide,” said Solana Rice, Senior Program Manager at CFED.
- Although the county has a 56% homeownership rate, one in three families are “asset poor,” meaning they lack sufficient net worth (what they own minus what they owe) to subsist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income.
- 28% of city residents are “unbanked” with no savings or checking account – more than double the rate for Miami-Dade County (11%) and over three times the national rate (8.2%).
17% of households in the county and 26% of those in the city are “underbanked,” which means they have a bank account, but still relied on alternative financial services such as costly check cashing or payday loans in the past year.
The findings were compiled as part of the national Family Assets Count initiative, which uses cutting edge data, tools and resources to leverage the power of cities to improve financial stability for families and advance programs and policies that encourage and enable families to save and build assets.
For more data on Miami families visit www.familyassetscount.org. You can create reports of household wealth and financial access for cities and counties across Florida by clicking here.###
CFED empowers low- and moderate-income households to build and preserve assets by advancing policies and programs that help them achieve the American Dream, including buying a home, pursuing higher education, starting a business and saving for the future. As a leading source for data about household financial security and policy solutions, CFED understands what families need to succeed. We promote programs on the ground and invest in social enterprises that create pathways to financial security and opportunity for millions of people. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, D.C.; Durham, North Carolina, and San Francisco, California.
Catalyst Miami Founded in 1995 as a Miami-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Catalyst Miami, formerly the Human Services Coalition (HSC), identifies and launches innovative strategies to help people and communities thrive and to create a more equitable and caring society. We work through a network of partner organizations, linking people with financial education, healthcare information, public benefits and educational and economic opportunities. Our programs promote economic self-sufficiency, participation in civic life, organizational strength, and respect across many divides. We inspire people to get involved and prepare them to step up to leadership roles that lead to long-term community transformation.
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, please visit citicommunitydevelopment.com.
Agenda: Cut poverty and build opportunity for all
By: Daniella Levine Cava
South Florida’s economy is growing again, but too few residents are sharing in that growth — many families are stuck in a recession and falling further behind.
Having just been sworn in as a new Miami-Dade County commissioner for District 8, I plan to get to work immediately with my colleagues on an aggressive agenda to cut poverty and build opportunity for everyone in our region. Not only is this the right thing to do for low-income families, it’s also good for our future economic growth.
Hundreds of community members, local elected officials, members of the media and service providers came together to talk about poverty in our region and what we need to do to tackle it. Most of the stories we heard were about poverty forcing families to make tough choices. Jobs are still too hard to find, and too many of the ones that are available here in Miami-Dade pay poverty wages.
The current minimum wage in our state is only $7.93 — just over $16,400 annually for a full-time worker. Parents who can’t make enough to make ends meet decide between paying for housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare and other basic needs. According to a new report by the United Way of Florida, the cost of these basic needs increased 13 percent between 2007 and 2012.
Let’s look at one of these tough choices — putting food on the table. More than 15 percent of residents in the county, about 384,390 people, are food insecure and don’t necessarily know where they will get their next meal. As we heard at the summit, many parents struggle to provide something as basic as a nutritious meal because of how much they spend on high rents, providing childcare so they can work or paying high medical bills because they lack health insurance, among other expenses.
A recent report by Half in Ten at the Center for American Progress shows that 11 million people in the United States were pushed into poverty in 2013 because of out-of-pocket medical expenses. There is nothing inevitable about poverty. We can make smart policy choices to build an economy that works for everyone in Miami-Dade — starting today.
To do this, we must reduce barriers to employment and provide more jobs — jobs that pay a living wage. We also need to strengthen the supports that keep families economically secure — such as childcare — so they don’t fall back into poverty.
Housing is a good place to start. The Miami metro area has the highest percentage of working households spending more than half of their income on housing costs — 41 percent — which is a severe cost burden. It’s time to pass fair-housing policies that will stabilize rents and increase the stock of mixed affordable housing that is available in communities near employment opportunities.
Getting around our region safely, efficiently and affordably is another serious hurdle. When the cost of transportation is combined with housing, our region is the most expensive place to live in the United States. We need to expand access to affordable and efficient transportation so that parents can get to their jobs reliably, which is good for them and their employers. I plan to convene a meeting of local mayors to address these and other important issues in the coming months.
This is only the beginning of an agenda for Miami-Dade that will grow opportunity in its economy. Together, we can end the tough choices facing low- and middle-income families in South Florida and build a new economy that works for everyone.
Legislative Action Opportunities
Closing the Coverage Gap -- Contact: Athena Ford, FL CHAIN | [email protected]
Earned Paid Sick Days and Paid Family Leave -- Contact: Deborah Dion, SFVWF | [email protected]
Pesticides in Farms -- Contact: Elvira Carvajal, FWAF | [email protected]
Women and Trauma -- Contact: Renita Holmes, WAAIVE | [email protected]
Wage Theft -- Contact: Jeanette Smith, SFIWJ | [email protected]
Raising the Minimum Wage -- 1Miami | [email protected]
Predatory Lending -- Contact: Karen Landry, War on Poverty/RAISE FL | [email protected]
Fight for 15 -- Contact: Ericka Ward, Fight for 15/SEIU | [email protected]
Housing discrimination -- Contact: LaTonda James, NHSSF | [email protected]
Resident displacement and housing -- Contact: Adrian Madriz, MWC | [email protected]
Public transportation -- Contact: Marta Viciedo, Urban Impact Lab | [email protected]
Unaccompanied minors and homelessness -- Contact: Jorge de la Paz, MCH | [email protected]
Driver's License Campaign -- Contact: Francesca Menes, FLIC | [email protected]
Voting rights -- Contact: Jacob Coker-Dukowitz, FNM | [email protected]
State violence and School to Prison Pipeline -- Contact: Phillip Agnew, Dream Defenders | [email protected]
Friends of Broward Detainees -- Contact: Christine Ho, Friends of Broward Detainees | [email protected]
Rights Restoration -- Contact: Kevin Spring, Spring4ward | [email protected]
Connecting returning citizens to employers -- Contact: Mariamee Rodriguez | [email protected]