1stUUPB – Community in Action!
Many of our 1stUUPB members participate in PEACE, (People Engaged in Active Community Efforts). PEACE is a powerful justice ministry organization in Palm Beach County, Florida made up of twenty congregations from throughout Palm Beach County, FL. Their intention is to powerfully address the systemic causes of injustices happening in our community. After a process of discernment and research around commonly identified problems, we hold what we call a Nehemiah Action Assembly each Spring. We gather thousands of our members, and ask public officials to implement meaningful changes related to the problems upon which we are focusing.
This year, Nehemiah Action will be held, in person and on zoom on March 28th at 7:00 p.m. at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. In the past, 1stUUPB can be proud to have shown up in large numbers at this event. This year, it should be no different! We are a community that shows compassion for those who are marginalized and underserved.
Here are some highlights of the powerful work that is underway:
- In Palm Beach County, rent increased by 40% in the last year. This is further compounded by the fact that only about 20 square miles (less than 1%) of land remains vacant and zoned for residential use.
- Many families are one paycheck away from a housing crisis. 100,000 households are paying more than 30% of their income towards rent and utilities. Of those, 50,000 households are paying more than 50%.
- Palm Beach County lacks affordable, safe housing units. There is a deficit of 20,000 units – and growing.
- PEACE is currently meeting with different organizations to learn more about potential solutions. One solution we are exploring is an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that can leverage for-profit, government, and non-profit dollars to deal with housing problems unique to our County.
- An estimated 60,000 people in our community lack an accepted form of identification. They include the elderly, disabled, homeless, immigrants, and those recently released from prison or jail. Without an ID, these people cannot access healthcare services, pick their children up from school, cash their checks, or enter gated communities for work.
- After years of pushing, PEACE won the creation of the Community ID Program of the Palm Beaches in 2019. To date, over 3,000 Community IDs have been issued. These are accepted by several local municipalities, cities, county agencies, and police departments.
- This year, PEACE is working with Sheriff Bradshaw to craft a PBSO policy to formally accept Community IDs for certain police interactions. Much like the policy for consular IDs, this would help officers identify who they are interacting with, and build better relations between the community and police.
- Last year, 134 children were arrested in Palm Beach County for misdemeanors domestic disturbances (fights with a sibling, parent, or other family member). However, 100% of these cases were later dropped for post-arrest programs or court fines. This means that the children never served jail time, but still ended up with a criminal record.
- There is a better solution that connects families and the juvenile to needed services without resulting in an arrest record: Juvenile Civil Citations. Palm Beach County currently issues Civil Citations for several offenses, but does not include domestic disturbances. Miami-Dade and Hillsborough County both include domestic disturbances in their list of eligible offenses and they have seen positive outcomes as a result.
- This year, PEACE is asking State Attorney Dave Aronberg to include domestic disturbances on the list of eligible offenses for Civil Citations.
How can you make a difference?
Join one of 1stUUPB’s PEACE meetings to discuss progress and action!
Join a research team to address what matters most!
Take action at upcoming rallies and events held!
Community ID Drive:Saturday, February 19th @9:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.: ID Drive in Boynton Beach – Assist residents in obtaining Community IDs. Volunteers are needed to help direct people on the day of the event. If interested, please contact Paige Shortsleeves at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, please contact Barbara Hazfeldbhatzfeld44@outlook.com; 561-624-0165 or Bob Burnsbob.email@example.com; 561-339-3268