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. Our Financial 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.
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 See “Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Framework” published by Miami for All on July 2, 2020: https://indd.adobe.com/view/c227b935-d161-477a-bcc2-29aaf84859d0