News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
November 04, 2019
Media Contact:
Lisa Mozloom

Twenty-Five Years, 200,000+ People & 1%: Miami-Dade County’s Nationally Recognized Best Practice Model for Ending Homelessness Turns 25

Homeless Trust Marks Momentous Occasion with Restaurant “Thank You” Tour & Other Communitywide Events

Miami, FL – November 4, 2019 – A full 24-hours of programming and events are on tap as the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust celebrates 25 years of success. The annual Homeless Awareness Day (HAD) extravaganza kicks off on Wednesday, November 6, and will showcase some of the thousands of men, women and children served, the contributions from the public and private sectors that brought the Trust to this point, the goals met and the job ahead.

HAD 2019 events include a countywide high school rally at St. Thomas University involving nearly 1,000 students from 19 high schools; all-day “Cardboard Brigades” at dozens of schools; and, new this year, a “Thank You” tour of formerly homeless Ambassadors, who will visit local restaurants that support the Homeless Trust and its work through the 1% Food and Beverage Tax, a significant source of legislated funding for the organization. Stops on the tour include Blue Collar, Shula’s Steak House and Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.

“Twenty-five years ago there were so many people sleeping on the streets of Miami-Dade that we could have completely filled the Watsco Center at University of Miami and had more people standing outside,” said Ronald L. Book, chair of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. “When you look out over this county and its evolution into a world-class community, that transformation has coincided with a dramatic reduction in homelessness under the leadership of the Homeless Trust, together with a committed and coordinated network of homeless housing and service providers. We have more work to do, but we are proud of the impact our work has brought to this great community.”

Established in 1994 to eradicate homelessness in Miami-Dade County, the Homeless Trust has made incredible strides in fulfilling its mission, most recently by effectively ending veteran homelessness in Miami-Dade, and with the creation of RentConnect, a unique landlord recruitment and retention program designed to match and support property owners with formerly homeless households moving toward self-sufficiency. More than 200,000 households have had their lives touched by the Homeless Trust over the past 25 years. Total homelessness is now at record lows in Miami-Dade, but the focus remains on unsheltered single adults, youth, seniors and families.

Recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a best practice model and ranked top 5 in the nation for its Continuum of Care by the National Homeless Information Project, the Homeless Trust administers proceeds of the 1% Food and Beverage tax, implements the Miami-Dade County Community Homeless Plan and serves in an advisory capacity to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners on issues involving homelessness.


1:00 – 1:30 PM
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Trustees Luncheon
Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami

Chairman Book speaks on “What 25 years teaches us about homelessness.”

10:30 – 11:30 AM
Countywide High School Rally
St. Thomas University, Fernandez Family Center, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens

Nearly 1,000 students from more than 19 schools around Miami-Dade County get a firsthand lesson about the realities of homelessness. Part pep rally and part reality TV, this event includes interactive conversations with formerly homeless individuals about issues facing the street homeless. The event gives students ways to get involved and help end homelessness in Miami-Dade.

Restaurant “Thank You” Tour
A series of short visits by HAD Ambassadors – formerly homeless members of our community – to restaurants across Miami-Dade County. During these visits, Had Ambassadors will meet with restaurant owners and staff to share their stories, put a face to the 1% Food & Beverage Tax that provides funding to the Homeless Trust, and thank these eateries for the part they play in helping to end homelessness in our community. Tour stops include:

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
2550 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami 33127

Shula’s Steak House
7601 Miami Lakes Drive, Miami Lakes 33014

Sea Grill
3913 NE 163rd Street, North Miami Beach 33160

2003 N Miami Avenue, Miami 33127

Blue Collar
6730 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami 33138

“Cardboard Brigades” are scheduled at dozens of Miami-Dade schools. Brigades are gatherings of community leaders and/or students who use signage and flyers to promote key messages about preventing and ending homelessness.

About The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust: Founded in 1994, the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust is a county agency headed by a board of 27 volunteers which serves in an advisory capacity to the Miami-Dade County Commission charged with the responsibility of implementing the Miami-Dade County Community Homeless Plan. These volunteers represent the business, religious, educational, provider and political communities, along with formerly homeless individuals. For more information regarding the Homeless Trust visit