They have lived under bridges, scavenged for food, bathed in rain water puddles, and gone unnoticed by passers-by, but that dire life of homelessness is no longer the reality for many people in the Northside District, thanks to the outreach of numerous agencies, including the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Miami-Dade Police MDPD STORIES The Northside District has some of the poorest neighborhoods in all of Miami-Dade County, and the District’s Neighborhood Resource Unit makes contact with the homeless every day. Part of the Unit’s duties include enforcing the dismantling of illegal encampments, those haphazard structures made of discarded wood, cardboard, tarp and any other material that could serve to insulate humans from the elements. But whenever and wherever the Unit enforces such law, it also brings help.
“We bring the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust with us, or any type of social service agency that may be available to come out with us on that day, so that we offer the homeless help as we are telling them that they have to leave,” said Officer Fredrieka Simpo. “We’ve done so many of those enforcements, and each time, you may get one of two of them who will accept the help. And so recently, I was thinking about what happened to all those people.”
After weeks of research, she learned that many of them had transitioned from homeless shelters to apartments at the Northside Commons, a modern 80-unit building on 8301 NW 27th Avenue in Miami, within the Northside District. The building is owned and managed by Carrfour Supportive Housing, a non-profit organization that was established in 1993 by the Homeless Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, to provide private, affordable housing for individuals and families in need.
“When I found out about that, I thought to myself that these survivors of homelessness should have a day of recognition and motivation, so I started putting together an event at a place where I knew they would feel comfortable, their new home,” Officer Simpo said. On Thursday, August 3, 2023, the party was held on the second floor parking landing at Northside Commons, and approximately 40 former homeless residents, who now live in the building, showed up. The event was called “Survivors of Homelessness: A Day of Recognition and Motivation.”
Lieutenant Luis Perez Jr., the supervisor of the Unit, said, “As part of the Neighborhood Resource Unit, we partner with a lot of local, county and private organizations, to try to make as much of an impact as we can. I’m very happy for the turnout today because one of our major focuses is the homeless epidemic. I would like to commend all of you for coming out today, to either help towards the movement, or for taking the steps to help better your life.”
There were racks of clothing and shoes donated by Northside officers, and plenty of food for the tenants to take back to their apartments. Northside Operations Division Chief Shawn Browne, formerly the Northside District’s Major, donated a bike, which went to a young boy, and another member of the Unit, Officer Wideline Anestor, also donated a women’s bicycle. Detective Maguelena Aldophe donated a 50” television to a man who did not have a TV in his apartment. There were raffle giveaways, stacks of Tupperware and other kitchen and home items for the tenants, and a barbecue buffet. A representative from the Office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle was present to help any of the tenants navigate any legal issues that may impede them from employment, such as the process to expunge criminal records, if they meet the criteria. And there was even a barber on hand, to offer tenants haircuts at no expense.
Originally published at https://www.miamidade.gov/global/news-item.page?Mduid_news=news1694100524233454