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7 July 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 83 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.
3:05 – Grant talked about recent comments by real estate developer and presidential candidate Donald Trump that led to NBC Universal severing ties with him. He read from a recent article he penned on OnlyinMiami.co commenting on the top three reasons why NBC fired the Donald.
9:11 – Grant was joined by Alex Fiallo, who shared his #OnlyinMiami story of becoming homeless and living on the streets of Miami. He also talked about how he was able to turn his life around through the help of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. Through their assistance, he was able to get treatment for his drug addiction and find employment. Today, he supervises almost 90 employees and has been able to rebuild his life.
17:55 – Grant was joined by Ron Book, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. He talked about how, due to the efforts of the Homeless Trust, the homeless population in the county has experienced a 90% decrease, from over 10,000 in 1994 to just over 1,000 today. In fact, the Miami-Dade model has been labelled a best practice by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
23:09– Grant continued his conversation with Ron Book, who talked about how the Trust is funded. The Trust receives approximately $20 million annually from a 1% food and beverage tax, and the federal government kicks in about $35 million annually. Ron also talked about the plan put forward by the Downtown Development Agency (DDA) to shelter some of the homeless. He fears that such a program will simply be an arrest and release program, as police will end up traversing the downtown area, offering homeless persons a bed, and arresting them if they refuse. He feels that it will undermine a proven system to address the root causes of homelessness rather than just the symptoms and that it will merely put a bandaid on the problem instead of working with homeless persons to move them into a permanent housing solution.
34:47 – Grant and Ron spoke about the Housing First model, which has reached national attention recently. The concept is basically a homeless person is first given an apartment and assigned a case manager who will work with him or her to get them the medical and psychological treatments they need. They will also work to provide skills training for stable employment.
42:50 – Grant and Ron continued their conversation about the Homeless Trust budget and about what kind of partnerships the trust works with to do its work. They talked about how it is more cost effective to provide housing than to arrest or to treat in an emergency room. They also talked about the need for mental health services for the homeless as opposed to just treating the symptom.
55:47 – Grant talked with Evelina Galang and Faith Adiele from VONA/Voices, which is a summer workshop for emerging voices of color in all genres. They talked about why they chose to host the event in Miami. They also talked about what the workshop does and how the esteemed faculty will work with the attendees to refine their personal writing style. For updates, follow them on Twitter: @VoicesatVONA
1:09:01 – Grant was joined by the Drastic Fanatic and by Surya Fernandez of Hot Hot Hoops to talk about sports and more specifically about the NBA offseason, including the draft and the free agency period. They discussed the Heat’s acquisition of Justise Winslow and about the status of the negotiations with All-Star guard Dwyane Wade. They also talked about a number of other teams’ selections in the draft.