About Us

about us

The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust serves as the lead agency for Miami-Dade County’s homeless Continuum of Care (CoC), responsible for the oversight, planning and operations of the entire CoC including:

  • Administering proceeds of a one-percent (1%) Food and Beverage Tax. Miami-Dade had the first dedicated funding source for homelessness in the United States – a unique 1percent Food and Beverage Tax which is foundational to the funding of the Homeless Trust today.
  • Implementing the Miami-Dade County Community Homeless Plan: Priority Home which provides a framework for preventing and ending homelessness in Miami-Dade County.
  • Serving as the collaborative applicant for federal and state funding opportunities.
  • Administering grants and overseeing operations and fiscal activities for over 120 housing and services programs operated by more than 20 competitively selected non-profit providers and government entities.
  • Managing Miami-Dade County’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), the local technology system used to collect client-level data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness.
  • Developing policy and serving in an advisory capacity to the Board of County Commissioners on issues involving homelessness.
In the early 1990s, more than 8,000 people were camping on the streets, sidewalks and underpasses of Miami-Dade County. Independent non-profits were overwhelmed and there was little coordination between agencies serving homeless households. In 1992, then Governor Lawton Chiles appointed leaders to a Governor’s Commission on Homelessness. The commission was led by former Knight Ridder chairman, Miami Herald publisher, and longtime Miami resident, Alvah Chapman. Mr. Chapman, along with many other influential thought-leaders, businessmen and elected officials, came together and recommended three (3) key activities be pursued to address the community’s needs:
  • Pursue a dedicated source of funding/private sector funding
  • Create a body with diverse representation to implement plan
  • Research best practices to address homelessness and develop goals for implementation
The Governor’s Task Force pursued and secured a one-percent Food & Beverage Tax (F&B Tax). Approved in 1992, the enabling legislation for the Homeless and Domestic Violence F&B Tax became the first dedicated source of funding for homelessness through a tax in the country. Eighty-five percent (85%) of funds go toward preventing and ending homelessness; 15 percent is allocated to the construction and operation of domestic violence centers and overseen by the Domestic Violence Oversight Board.

This tax is collected on all food and beverage sales in restaurants that gross more than $400,000 a year and are licensed by the State of Florida to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, except for hotels and motels. The tax is collected throughout Miami-Dade County with the exception of facilities in Miami Beach, Surfside and Bal Harbour. The levying of the tax required the creation of a community plan.  The Homeless Trust Board created by county ordinance is responsible for the implementation of the Miami-Dade County Community Homeless Plan: Priority Home. 

Chapman Partnership serves as the private sector partner to the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and is commissioned by the Homeless Trust to operate two Homeless Assistance Centers which have assisted more than 100,000 individuals and families during its 20+ year history.

As a result of the CoC’s work, under the leadership of the Homeless Trust, unsheltered homelessness in Miami-Dade has gone from more than 8,000 people fewer than 1,100 persons. In 2019, the Homeless Trust recorded record low homeless totals.  Currently, the Homeless Trust has more than 8,000 beds/units in its Housing Inventory Count dedicated to serving persons who are homeless and formerly homeless
In line with the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Homeless Trust views the local homeless response as a coordinated system rather than a collection of individual programs operating independently in our community. As such, we measure our system’s performance collectively, in addition to analyzing performance by specific projects and project types.

The Homeless Trust is led by a 27-member Board of Trustees that includes representation from the city and business community, elected officials, formerly homeless persons, religious leaders and homeless advocates. The full Board meets monthly. Meetings are broadcast live. Archived meetings are also available to the public.

Board of Trustees

Ronald L. Book, Esq.
Chairman

Rabbi Solomon Schiff
Vice Chair

Judge Steven Leifman
11th Judicial Circuit of Florida
Treasurer

Stephen Alvarez
Executive Director
New Hope CORPS

Ricky Arriola
Commissioner
City of Miami Beach

Raéann Bacchus
Regional Managing Director
Florida Department of Children and Families

Cleveland Bell III
Executive Director
Riverside House

Lynne Cameron
Executive Director
Neighbors 4 Neighbors

Alberto M. Carvalho
Superintendent
Miami-Dade County Public Schools

Ana Castilla
President
Miami Homes for All, Inc.

Hilda M. Fernandez
Chief Executive Officer
Camillus House

Oliver G. Gilbert III
Vice Chairman
Commissioner, District 1
Miami-Dade County

Carlos Fernandez Guzman
President
Pacific National Bank

Daniella Levine Cava
Mayor
Miami-Dade County

Jean Monestime
Commissioner, District 2
Miami-Dade County

Joanne Karmade
Homeless/Formerly Homeless Forum, Inc.

Carlos Migoya
President & CEO
Public Health Trust
Jackson Health System

Patrick G. Morris
Community Affairs Officer South Florida
Wells Fargo Bank

Arthur Noriega
Manager
City of Miami

Sandra Newson
Vice President of Resident Services
Carrfour Supportive Housing

Father Patrick O'Neil
Greater Miami Religious Leaders Coalition

Francis Suarez
Mayor
City of Miami

Pauline Clarke Trotman
Housing Director
Better Way of Miami

Tony Villasuso
Programs Director
Miami Rescue Mission

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Victoria L. Mallette
Executive Director

The following committees and sub-committees are in place to provide guidance and recommendations to the full board:
  • Executive Committee
  • Finance and Audit Committee
  • Housing and Services Development Committee
  • Performance Evaluation Committee
  • CoC Subcommittee
  • Youth Homelessness Working Group
People who require assistance because of their disabilities in order to participate in the programs, activities or services of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, may contact Rodgers Delaughter at 305-375-1490 or email rdel01@miamidade.gov. To request materials in accessible format, sign language interpreters, or other means of equally effective communication to participate in any program or meeting, please contact him five days in advance to initiate your request. TTY users may also call 711 (Florida Relay Service.)

The Homeless Trust is committed to addressing racial disparity among persons experiencing homelessness. The Trust recognizes the existence of racial disparity in numerous public sectors and seeks to advance equitable access to housing and service resources for high need individuals and families and those who experience episodic or chronic homelessness. 

Data has shown people of color are overrepresented as a portion of the homeless population. While black persons represent approximately 18 percent of the population, they comprise about 57 percent of the homeless population. Additionally, 66 percent of families experiencing homelessness are black. The Trust is proud to say that we have looked at our data and we are exiting people of color to permanent housing at approximately the same rate with which they enter homelessness.  However, it’s clear disparities exist and we are just beginning to understand the root causes of why this is occurring and what systems are contributing to these disparities Risk assessments with our contracted providers are underway.

Among the questions they are being asked by the Trust:

  1. Has your agency adopted a racial equity statement?
  2. Have you looked at the racial composition of your board and staff?
  3. Have you taken steps to identify and understand underlying reasons for the disparate experience of homelessness?  

The Trust is doing the same and looking at data regularly, reviewing the composition of its Board and Committees, and including the voices of people with lived experience in decision-making. Additionally, the organization has adopted Restorative Justice practice and adopted a Systemwide Housing First framework that promotes housing first and foremost without service participation requirements and barriers to entry.

The Homeless Trust is also part of a nationwide youth challenge called The Grand Challenge which is focused on ending youth homelessness (18-24), particularly for youth of color and youth in the LGTBQ community.  Miami-Dade County’s Homeless Trust is one of 10 communities leading this work through a Youth Homelessness Working Group involving key community partners.