This year the 29 United Ways of Florida come together once again to develop a Consensus Legislative Agenda, with hope for big wins across the board. From financial stability and early education to health and added support for our veterans, our United Ways are on the path to progress.
Legislative priorities focus on Florida’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population, as we hope to help working families and individuals who struggle to make ends meet by addressing financial stability, education and health policies. Below is a peek into some of the issues we’ll be addressing.
In terms of financial stability, United Ways will come together to expand tax preparation and financial coaching services. Support issues include increasing access to affordable housing by appropriating all Sadowski Housing Trust Funds for their intended purpose; and workforce development, to add more technical skill jobs and bridge the skills gap, a massive pool of untapped talent that could if addressed add vitality to Florida’s economy.
When it comes to early learning, high quality early learning opportunities are top priority, as well as early detection and treatment of childhood developmental and behavioral challenges – and are essential for children’s development and later success in school and in life. For every $1 invested in programs for low-income children, $4 – $9 is yielded and returned to society.
Our Florida United Ways are also supporting legislation to expand access to health care in Florida. Florida continues to have one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, with an estimated 2.6 million Floridians (13.3%) without health insurance. The goal is to provide more mental and behavioral health services in the school system.
For veterans, we are working with the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and United Way Mission United programs across Florida to help create a one-stop shop for veterans at the state level. By using 2-1-1 as an entrance point and bringing together different providers, we can standardize college credits and pursue additional funding to fight for those who fought for us.
United Way Capitol Days are November 12-13. Call your local elected official about House Bill 2115, sponsored by Representative Holly Raschein, to support United Way’s $1.2 million appropriations to support our financial stability priority.