Homeless Awareness Day (HAD) is the largest single-day community event of its kind in the nation. Held in Miami-Dade County every November, it unifies schools, faith-based communities, thought leaders, government entities, and non-profits in a full day of programming to raise awareness and build compassion for our homeless population.
This year, nearly 100 unique events and awareness programs will be held in the community, providing a forum to think about solutions to homelessness, build compassion, and connect Miamians to organizations that help people experiencing homelessness. But, most important of all, HAD brings visibility to one of our city’s most vulnerable populations.
The best part of Homeless Awareness Day is anyone can get involved! Options are endless, and we have teams at the Trust ready to assist you in planning your effort, so it has a real impact on the community. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Scroll through this Tool Kit to find action steps to educate the community about alternatives to panhandling. This kit gives everything you need to know to get started!
- Host a virtual or in-person discussion on homelessness. Please email us at HADmiami@gmail.com for a list of available speakers.
- If you are a restaurant in Miami-Dade County whose customers pay into the Food and Beverage Tax, you can get a window sticker for your business. The Trust will even send formerly homeless ambassadors and Trust leadership to visit your restaurant for special meet-and-greets and photos ops which can be promoted on social media.
- Create move-in kits for individuals and families who need the basics for their new homes: pillows, soap, light bulbs, dishes, towels, toiletries, etc. We can help get you started and match you with a provider who is housing people experiencing homelessness.
- Visit our “Teachers” tab located on this page to view the Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ customized curriculum. Consider use for the classroom or nonprofit organization.
- Explore this brochure full of age-appropriate ideas to help any child, youth, or teen create real change in the lives of those people experiencing homelessness.
Got your own ideas? Great! Let’s do it! Join the Homeless Trust team this year! Email us at HADmiami@gmail.com.
The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust seeks public comment on policies and procedures online prior to formal presentation before the Homeless Trust Board and committees.
Members of the public may also participate in Reasonable Opportunity for the Public to be Heard prior to the meeting by sending an email message to email@example.com or leaving a voice mail message by calling 305-679-0190.
Please be sure to state your name, address and the item number you wish to comment on. Only the first two minutes of an email message or voice message will be read/listened to at the meeting.
Interested in helping the homeless but don’t know where to start? Volunteers can help create real change in the lives of people experiencing homelessness in a host of ways. Here are some very practical things you can do:
- Feed the homeless indoors at one of the shelters listed below.
- Use your professional skills to help people in their journey to self-sufficiency, including legal services and financial/budgeting advice.
- Mentor a homeless person. Provide basic life skills.
- Tutor a homeless student or adult in reading or math.
- Provide individual or group teaching in trades like plumbing, painting and construction.
- Provide jobs and job opportunities.
- Offer to help someone work on their resume and prepare for a job interview.
- Put together a move-in kit for the homeless with essential items like light bulbs, bedding, dishes and towels.
- Rent apartments and condos to individuals and families seeking a permanent place to call home.
- When the opportunity presents itself, simply say hello, but don’t be afraid to say “no” if someone asks for food or money. Just acknowledging their presence is compassionate and encouraging.
Rather than trying to provide direct outreach to unsheltered homeless, the Homeless Trust encourages volunteers to connect with emergency shelters which need community support. The Homeless Trust funds outreach workers, many with lived homeless experience to engage unsheltered persons to offer a variety of services. From identification assistance to offers of housing and services, the goal is to going beyond just a meal.
Outreach teams get to know and continually engage individuals experiencing homelessness and encourage them to get help, seek shelter, and receive medical care through programs such as the Lazarus Project.
Below are organizations with professionals on staff to help make volunteer efforts meaningful.
The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust offers several classroom curriculum options to help you teach students about homelessness. If you have questions about which might be best for you and your students, call 305-571-1455 and ask for Dani Guerrero.
- Elementary – High School Student Brochure - Project Homeless Awareness
- Homeless Education Curriculum - Sensitivity Awareness and Prevention. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a copy.
- Multimedia classroom discussion guide – 45 minutes to 1 hour of content
- Chronicle Cards - Homelessness comes in all shapes and sizes. To understand better the issues facing many homeless incorporate our Chronicle Cards into your curriculum. These nine stories chronicle unique individuals who have been part of the Homeless Trust’s 25-year history. Each promises to inspire students and launch meaningful discussions.
The Ending Homelessness Fund, supported by The Miami Foundation, aims to build a long-term, permanent solutions to effectively address senior homelessness and prevent people 55+ from slipping through the cracks.
The Challenge: Decreases in Funding Revenue
The Homeless Trust of Miami-Dade County is one of the nation’s largest and most established Continuums of Care serving more than 8,000 individuals every year. Senior homelessness is a growing problem nationwide, but increased demand for resources brought on by the pandemic has stretched our resources thin.
A major concern for the Homeless Trust is the displacement of homeless senior citizens currently housed safely in hotels and non-congregate settings. You may have heard of this idea at the beginning of 2020 when it became viral—well, we actually did it. What started out as a temporary means of expanding capacity during the pandemic is now a very much needed service that houses dozens of individuals and families.
While we were expanding capacity to meet the needs of our community during a crisis, our funding resources were slowly dwindling. As a direct result of the pandemic, the 1% Food & Beverage Tax revenues have dramatically decreased. These funds provide crucial dollars for housing and services for people experiencing homelessness. On top of this, a looming eviction crisis threatens to increase housing needs in the coming year as people, particularly very low-income seniors try to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
The Opportunity: Invest in Dedicated Facilities
Within this urgent need for housing, there is now an opportunity before us to acquire facilities that will provide a long-term solution for the growing number of senior citizens and other special needs individuals experiencing homelessness. We want to acquire two housing facilities within the next two months.
These facilities will provide permanent housing and seamless care for the men and women 55+ who are currently housed and receiving necessary wrap around support services in several leased locations, as well as those on the streets in need of assistance.
These two investment locations are thoroughly vetted. Acquiring dedicated housing versus renting units at market rate is the best option and provides the greatest value for our community. In developing dedicated facilities, we will add hundreds of housing units and be able to serve many more income-strained individuals each year.
We aim to raise the funds necessary to buy this facility allowing us to permanently house the increasing number of seniors who now find themselves homeless in their later years without resources to afford housing on their own in the Miami-Dade market. If we are unable to acquire this property many of those now living there will be forced into shelters or to the streets. We simply cannot let that happen.
Donate now to support our mission or mail your donation to:
Ending Homelessness Fund at The Miami Foundation
40 NW 3rd Street, Suite 305
Miami, FL 33128
Please make your check payable to: The Miami Foundation and include Ending Homelessness Fund in the memo field.