On March 27, we published and shared a survey on our website. We wanted to “knock on the door” of our neighbors to ask them how the pandemic was impacting them. The responses obtained were crucial, not only to understand the consequences of the health crisis and economic downturn across South Florida communities but, more importantly, these responses helped us to design new educational programs and counseling services to assist families and residents in navigating through the pandemic in the best possible way.
The first takeaway from the survey was no surprise: The lack of savings and a poorly managed debt history continues to be one of the main obstacles to financial stability among low- and moderate-income residents. We need financial education, not only to restructure family budgets after they are hit by an unforeseen situation (such as loss of income, unemployment or illness) but to lay a solid foundation on which to build wealth and economic opportunities. OurFinancial Fitness and Are You Financially Ready for COVID-19? workshops address precisely these problems and offer educational tools to improve the financial health of the participants.
Another important takeout from the survey is the extremely precarious situation in which renters live in South Florida and even more so among the African-American and Hispanic communities. Past and recent studies show that 64% of African-American and Hispanic renter households are cost-burdened (their annual income is well below $ 35,000 and their housing expense is more than 30% of their income). The survey only confirms this data: 45% of those surveyed said their main concern has been falling behind on their rent and their fear of eviction. Based on these results, we activated an Emergency Assistance Program for Broward Residents, we are partially administering the ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance) Program on behalf of the City of Miami, and we also offer the Rental Workshop to respond to questions and challenges renters currently face.
One of the four pillars on which we sustain our mission and pursuit of goals is that data and data analysis inform our ideas, actions, products, and services. The survey -that you can read in full here– is in line with that vision and is part of our efforts to continue striving shoulder to shoulder with the most vulnerable communities and families across South Florida.
If you want to support our commitment, you can DONATE and show us your love on our social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), following us, and sharing our posts with your friends and family.
Whenever an accident happens, it takes anyone out of balance. Now imagine two unfortunate events occurring one after the other: the foundations of what until then was a normal life are in danger of collapsing.
That is precisely what happened to K. and J., both Broward County residents, who have received assistance to cover their house rent, through our NHSSF C19 Emergency Relief Program secured with funding from the Community Foundation of Broward.
Shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began, K. had a stroke, her roommate is disabled, and she works independently. This health episode – amid a health and economic crisis that was beginning – directly affected her financial and existential livelihood: the stroke forced her to rest, but resting and recovering meant for her to stop working and, therefore, stop receiving an income.
In this desperate situation, Kelly searched through Google anyone to help her with her bills. To her surprise, the NHSSF program appeared on the list and contacted us immediately to apply. The help provided has had a definite impact on his present life:
“It stopped me from having another episode and getting me back on track with my health. It has been a couple of hard months trying to get back in the swing of things. Thanks to you at NHSSF, I think it will become possible.”
No one should have to choose between regaining their health versus the need for an economic income, and that’s just what Kelly would like authorities to do:
“I would like for the local or state authorities to advertise more (assistance programs like NHSSF) and extend their reach a litter further financially where I, and others like me in my situation, should be able to recover and not forced to go back the work right away.”
Thank you, K and J., for your trust and patience.
God bless you!
About the Program
Starting in May, meaningful housing relief was delivered to help residents focus on regaining employment and getting back on their feet without the fear of losing the roof over their heads because they’ve failed to meet their rent or mortgage payments. After a couple of months of processing applications, the NHSSF C19 Relief Program’s funds have been exhausted. We thank the patience and trust of applicants. We genuinely appreciate the Community Foundation of Broward’s support in making this program possible.