Bolstered by Federal relief funds, it is the first budget over $100m in Florida’s history and in a year of distressing news, the programs that serve ALICE families have been afforded a year of support. Read more…
Almost every issue called for in the United Way of Florida statewide Consensus Agenda and United Way of Miami-Dade’s local agenda passed – some after more than five years of advocacy.
The infusion of Federal relief funds took the sting out of widespread cuts initially proposed – most in the health budget – and made some surprising wins possible. While full Medicaid expansion, does not seem to be politically viable in Tallahassee, no matter the carrots offered by Washington, United Way of Miami-Dade’s priority health issue – providing health coverage for postpartum women for a full year after giving birth – was fully funded.
Major overhauls of the workforce development and early childhood education systems also passed – both intend to ensure Floridians seeking help are able to do so in streamlined systems that require quality outcomes.
The early childhood legislation which passed has, in one form or another, been supported by United Ways in Florida since 2017. This commitment to accountability and alignment of standards across the early learning system in Florida is an enormous leap. This alignment has been bolstered by reforms to standards in assessment, aligning them from VPK through 8th grade under other legislation. Both bills have been signed by the Governor.
With the increase to the state minimum wage just five months away, legislation aimed at reducing the impact of benefits cliffs (when recipients’ income increases slightly above the program limit and eliminates them from eligibility) will require the Auditor General to determine the cliffs within certain programs. The legislation also provides a structure for the University of Florida to conduct an analysis of the programs in Florida to recommend alternate solutions to simply cutting off benefits. While benefits cliffs have long been a concern for ALICE families, the upcoming increase to the minimum wage made it a priority issue this session.
The work of MISSION UNITED statewide will be enhanced through a new system integrating referrals from the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs to 2-1-1 and on to MISSION UNITED teams. This peer to peer support will ensure every veteran (and their family) that needs assistance has a specific point of contact. MISSION UNITED team members, many who are veterans themselves, provide unique, individualized case management, financial support, access to legal services and more.
Two financial stability issues we advocated for, did not pass. SB1906 which would change the benefits and structure of the Unemployment Insurance program and HB1193/HB1195, which mitigate the impact of an eviction on a person’s credit by allowing them to seal the court record, did not pass. Each bill passed its original chamber unanimously and it seems unemployment revisions may have an opportunity to be reintroduced next year.
**post updated 6/24/2021