Item Coversheet



TO: Finance and Citywide Projects Committee Members

Jimmy L. Morales, City Manager

DATE: April 19, 2019




At its March 13, 2019 meeting, the Mayor and Commission had a discussion on and considered a resolution urging the Florida Legislature to amend Section 212.0306 of the Florida Statutes, to allow the collection of a one percent homeless and domestic violence tax within the City of Miami Beach to assist homeless persons, and those at risk of homelessness, and victims of domestic violence. 


During the discussion, members of the Commission as well as the community expressed concerns between the difference in sales / food and beverage taxes paid in Miami Beach restaurants (which would increase to 10%) versus the 7% paid in the rest of the County.


In the resulting discussions, the Mayor and Commission referred to the Finance and Citywide Projects Committee (FCWPC) a discussion on a variety of items associated with homeless and domestic violence services including:

  1. The need to monitor the State Legislative session for possible preemption issues;
  2. Looking for other funding sources to support homeless and domestic violence efforts such as the one-time short-term rental fines collected by the City;
  3. Approving a resolution urging the State to include additional funds in the State budget to address homelessness.

The Administration has directed staff and the City’s lobbying team to monitor the State Legislative session for possible preemption issues.  Additional funding sources from both the City and the state are discussed further in this agenda item.

The Mayor and Commission also referred discussion of a referendum on the question of whether or not to urge the legislature to authorize a 1% Homeless and Domestic Violence Tax in Miami Beach, which is the subject of a separate FCWPC agenda item.




The City conducts a Daily Morning Count that mirrors the concentration locations identified in the bi-annual Point-in-Time Census as well as the areas surrounding the homeless congregation points. The countywide Point-in-Time Census is conducted bi-annually by the Homeless Trust.


The Daily Morning Count provides a solid trend indicator of the number of homeless in the City at any given point in time throughout the year and is provided weekly to the City’s Administrative Team (including the City Manager, Police Chief, Homeless Resource Officers, and the Homeless Outreach Team) as well as citizens who have requested to receive this information weekly. This data has been collected since 2015.



While the City collects Daily Morning Count data in addition to the bi-annual Point-in-Time Census data, neither of these is an accurate representation of actual homelessness in our City. Homelessness is present in our City 365 days a year. as there are a greater number of homeless in Miami Beach throughout each year.


The City relies on self-certifying data that validates a person’s homelessness to quantify its homeless population. In fact, the City collects the identity of each self-identifying homeless person encountered in the following ways:

  • Street outreach
  • Homeless walk-in center
  • Police encounters


Individuals encountered more than once by any of these methods is only entered once into the system to provide a database of non-duplicated individuals encountered in the City.


The following chart displays side-by-side data of the City’s various homeless counts over the past three fiscal years excluding FY 18/19 which has not closed:



FY 15/16

FY 16/17

FY 17/18

Homeless Encountered in City1




Average Daily Morning Count2




Official City Census3




Served by HOT4




HOT Shelter Placements5








                             1 – The number of unduplicated, self-identified homeless contacted by Hot and PD as tracked by CIMS

                              2 – The morning count factors the population concentrated areas identified for the annual Point-in-Time Census

                              3 – The Point-in-Time Survey, January 2016 and 2017, respectively

                             4 – People contacted in the walk-in center and field offered services by the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT)

                              5 – Police were provided placement privileges in February 2017

                              6 – Relocations are provided once in a lifetime per client with verification of destination


As noted above, the City data indicates that the City has experienced a true net reduction of homeless individuals encountered year after year since FY 15/16. More so, the net reduction in homeless individuals encountered annually in Miami Beach from FY 15/16 to FY 17/18 was 31 percent. Please note that the City’s homeless population, much like the County’s homeless population, is known to rise and fall and has done so consistently since the beginning of the Point-in-Time street counts in 1997.


Origins of Our Homeless Population


The City has worked tirelessly through its Service Collaborative (Success University) and community networking to ensure that residents have a “no wrong door” experience when seeking vital services such as emergency rent, food and utility assistance. The City leverages funds from several sources (Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Food and Shelter Program, The Children’s Trust and the General Fund) to provide cash assistance for residents facing eviction and homelessness.


When possible, the City seeks to divert households facing homelessness through its rent assistance program to enable these households to rapidly rehouse themselves in private housing that can be sustained independently. However, despite these efforts, some households still experience homelessness. For these, the City is prepared to provide emergency shelter (whether through shelter or hotel placement). More so, if shelter beds are occupied and the household includes children, the City will approve overflow beds or place the family in a local hotel providing case management services immediately. The Homeless Trust eliminated funding for hotel placements by the City in 2018.


For the vast majority of clients seeking shelter services, their homeless experience began in a city other than our own. The City collects information from clients regarding their length, frequency and origin of homelessness. We also complete a national background check that verifies several data points including:

  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number and place/date of issuance
  • Previous known addresses (including last known address)
  • Arrest history and open warrants


As our data collection efforts improved, City staff began seeing an escalating rate of homeless clients reporting that their homelessness began in another City. While the City collected this data from 2017 forward (and generated the FY 17/18 number of 95 percent non-native homeless), the City reviewed all of its homeless client files from 2003 through 2016 to better understand if this prevalence of non-native homelessness was in fact reflective of a short-term trend or representative of the City’s overall population.


Once all client files were reviewed, representing 5,745 unique individuals, the City noted that 20.1 percent of all clients (1,201 individual, non-duplicated people) served through the City’s Homeless Program actually resided in our City immediately prior to their homelessness. (Please note that when prior residence could not be ascertained, the client was presumed to be a resident.) This means that at least 79.9 percent of all clients served before 2017 did in fact become homeless elsewhere and then migrated to our City. This data set validated the City’s understanding of its “migratory” homeless population as reflected in its most current data analyses.


Consistent with the overall population encountered in Miami Beach, less than 12 percent of all homeless persons placed in City-purchased shelter beds had been residents of the City prior to their placement. Please note that the City made a total of 397 placement authorizations into City-purchased beds in FY 17/18. However, the data below represents unduplicated persons as some clients were placed in shelter multiple times during the fiscal year:



The origin of a person’s homelessness – especially those who became homeless elsewhere and then migrated to our City -- impacts outcome for a variety of reasons:

  • Lack of natural supports
  • Lack of familiarity with area norms, values and assets
  • Lack of investment, cohesion and allegiance to area and the community


More so, the data shows that clients who successfully transition to housing benefit from slightly longer stays in shelter in order to secure their own housing:



Average Length of Stay

Average Length of Stay for Housing Transition

Camillus House

52 days

69 days

Miami Rescue Mission

50 days

137 days

The Salvation Army

67 days

103 days


The City’s in-house employment program, fully funded by the General Fund, provides homeless clients who have accepted shelter with transitional employment. This short-term employment provides clients with employment experience (many times after years of unemployment), work and interview clothes, recommendation letters and peer supports to encourage clients in their quest for permanent employment. The program provides 32 hours of paid, supervised work conducting outreach to the homeless in our City. The City gains their experience and knowledge of helping those who live in the streets and clients get a chance to ease into the workforce.  In FY 17/18, 22 of the 44 clients served obtained permanent employment either before or upon completion of the program.


Domestic Violence Services


The City employs six victim advocates (one funded by the General Fund and five fully funded by the Victims of Crime Act grant funds) in its Police Department. Victim advocates provide navigation, support and intervention services for victims of domestic violence as well as other crimes including sexual assault and stalking, among others. Advocates are available at Police Headquarters Monday through Saturday from 7:30am to 9:00pm and Sunday from 10:00am to 6:00pm. However, advocates are on call 24 hours per day.


Advocates provide services for victims and survivors (including children) of all violent crimes handled by our Department. Domestic violence cases are assigned to our advocates for follow up and all other cases are assigned to our advocates on a need basis. Services include:

  • Crisis intervention, in-person and by phone
  • Assistance to officers maintaining crime scene integrity
  • Liaison between detectives investigating cases and victims.
  • Follow up contacts by phone and by certified mail.
  • Information on services available in the community.
  • Referrals to community resources, in-person, by phone and mail
  • Assistance with filing and following through with Victim Compensation Claims
  • Emergency financial assistance (when funds are available). 
  • Court procedures support and advocacy.
  • Assistance with completion of U Visa Certification of Cooperation Form.
  • Safety planning for victims.
  • Information on victims’ rights and community resources.


The following chart provides an overview of clients served by the City’s Victim Advocates as reported to the Florida Office of the Attorney General:



2nd Quarter

(January – March 2018)

3rd Quarter (April – June 2018)

4th Quarter (July –September 2018)

1st Quarter (October – December 2018)

# Receiving Services





Domestic Violence Victims1





1 – Individuals who received services by types of victimization.





The City and Trust agree that homelessness and domestic violence are not compatible with the community we wish to have. We also agree that collaboration is essential among all stakeholders – including municipalities, faith groups, businesses, residents and those we seek to help. Our mutual efforts have made a difference and will continue to do so as long as we remain focused on the mutual goal: serve all of our residents and help them achieve the home and lives they choose for themselves. 


We know that more needs to be done – especially with regards to domestic violence services. The City currently does not adequately fund its fair share of these lifesaving services.



Funds for Homeless and Domestic Violence Services


The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust receives its funds from a variety of sources including: Food and Beverage Tax, and State and Federal funds:



While the bulk of funds collected by the Homeless Trust are expended to support efforts to address homelessness, a portion of funds are committed to supporting the efforts of the Domestic Violence Oversight Board. Fifteen (15) percent of the current Food and Beverage Tax collections are earmarked for domestic violence services


The Homeless Trust receives about $57,762,000 from Miami-Dade County collections. Based on a countywide population of 2,743,095 (Source: 2017 MDC CAFR), Homeless Trust collections amount to about $21.50 per capita.


Based on current Homeless Trust per capita collections, the City’s equitable share would be based on its population of 91,917 residents multiplied by the $21.50 per capita cost. This amounts to a contribution of $1,976,215 to support homeless and domestic violence services.  Dedicating 15% of this amount to domestic violence yields $3.23 per capita or an equivalent amount of $296,432.



City of Miami Beach Expenditures


The City of Miami Beach FY 2018/29 budget reflects the following amounts for Homeless and Domestic Violence Services (excluding any grants received:


    Housing and Community Services Homeless Services                       $1,900,000

            Police Department Homeless Outreach Team                             $1,300,000

            Domestic Violence/Victims’ Advocates Service                           $   151,940

                                                                                    Total                      $3,351,940


Despite the fact that these amounts are in excess of an equivalent funding per capita by the rest of Miami-Dade County, the Administration recommends providing funding for the Homeless Trust, and in particular for domestic violence services.



Potential Funding Approach

The Commission discussed the need to explore alternate funding sources to support homeless efforts. One potential funding source mentioned at the March 13th Commission meeting was the monies collected through Short Term Rental Violations.  While the Short-Term Rental Fines provide a limited amount of funds, these monies can be earmarked to fund homeless and domestic violence services by amending Resolution 2016-29684 to allow for their use in this way.


The following depicts the Short-Term Rental Fines funds collected through February 2019:


Fiscal Year 2015-2106

$  20,000

Fiscal Year 2016-2017


Fiscal Year 2017-2018


Fiscal Year 2018-2019

$  85,250




Resolution 2016-29684, approved December 14, 2016, states that the initial $200,000 in collected short-term rental fines was to be used to fund homeless services and all funds collected thereafter would be distributed with 20% set aside for homeless services and 80% to address affordable/workforce housing needs.


The following depicts the fund distribution as currently stipulated by Resolution 2016-29684:



Workforce Housing


Initial Amount




20 / 80 Split




Total Revenues





The Administration is supportive of dedicating funds to supporting these needed services.


Further, the Administration feels that the balance of needed per capita funds can be achieved through continued growth in existing Resort Tax funds (especially when both the Convention Center and Convention Center Hotel are fully operational). In other words, we can make an immediate contribution to support these services by earmarking collections of Short Term Rental fines and dedicate a portion of future growth in Resort Tax collections up to the City’s per capita share of $1,976,215, as amended for population changes and changes in collections of Tourist Development Tax by the Homeless Trust. This would allow for the funding of these needed services without the need of raising the Food and Beverage Tax, which is already the highest in the County.


The Administration recommends the provision of $250,000 per year in funding to the Homeless trust dedicated to domestic violence (initially from Short Term Rental fines) with additional funds to be allocated for both domestic violence and homeless services starting in FY 2021/22.