Affordable Housing (2008-2011)


The Problem:  There is a lack of rental housing for lower income households in Broward.

  • From 2003-2005 Broward County lost 11% (22,182) of its rental inventory to condominium conversions.  Some cities have lost more than 20% of their rental inventory1
  • Section 8 vouchers are not solving the problem.  Between 90-95% of the people in Broward County who are eligible to receive section 8 vouchers do not get them due to a lack of funding.  The last time the Broward Housing Authority opened up their waiting list was 2002 and they had over 3,000 applications.2
  • Broward County is 6th in the nation for percentage of households spending more than half of their income on housing.3


Affordable housing needs (2005):

  • Affordable housing is defined as housing on which a household does not spend more than 30% of their income
  • Severely cost burdened households pay more than 50% of their income for rent.  The chart below lists households that rent who are severely cost burdened.
  • In Broward County the Area Median Income (AMI) adjusted for household size is $51,570. However the median income for renters in Broward County is only $31,898.1  
  • The median price for a 2 bedroom apartment in Broward County is $1,122.  This means that a household would need to earn approximately $45,000 a year in order to afford an apartment in Broward County.1
  • As a result about 57% of renting households pay more than the 30% standard on housing.3
  • In November 2005 The Broward County Commission voted unanimously to adopt a 10 year plan – part of that plan included the net increase of 52,000 new affordable rental units.4



·      BOLD Justice got a commitment from the Broward County Commission to provide $2 million a year for 2 years for gap financing to encourage the development of affordable rental housing

·      As a result 2,322 new affordable rental units have received full funding around the county.  These units are located in: Ft. Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Dania Beach, Miramar, Davie, Sunrise, Deerfield Beach, and Cooper City


  1. From Broward Housing Partnership Housing Needs Assessment, March 1, 2006; Prepared by The Metropolitan Center Florida International University
  2. From Conversations with the director of the Broward Housing Authority (2008)
  3. From “Broward-by-the-numbers; Number 54 January 2008.  Available on the Broward County Web site at
  4. Broward County 10 year plan to end homelessness available on Broward County web site at – see section on permanent affordable housing; pages 64-70.  Net increase of 52,000 rental units, page 65
  5. Complied from the University of Florida Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing – available online at:

Jobs and Unemployment (2009)


Jobs and Unemployment Facts (2009):

  • 97,000 Broward County Jobs were lost in 2008
  • In 2009, over 54,000 people in Broward County were unemployed
  • In 2009, Broward County’s unemployment rate was 8.3%
  • There were 30 census tracks in Broward County with unemployment rates in double digits (greater than 10.0%) – some areas have unemployment rates as high as 17.2%


The Problem: People are having difficulties receiving their unemployment benefits

  • In 2009, Broward County was experiencing high level of unemployment.
  • The only way to file for unemployment benefits was via the telephone or online (there is no place in Broward County where you can talk face to face with some one)
  • Due to the increase in people filing for unemployment, it was often difficult to get through 
  • If you did not have a computer or telephone you can go to one of the three Work Force One stations to use their computers and phone to file for unemployment
  • About 2,700 people go to one of the three Work Force One Stations every week – about 30% (900) of them are there for services related to unemployment
  • If you made an error – like misspelling your street address – a “flag” was placed on your account and your benefits are discontinued until the problem is fixed.
  • Work Force One staff did not have the ability to correct it – you must call Tallahassee – which results in delays in benefits
  • Due to the massive increase in unemployment, when people called Tallahassee they waited on hold for hours before being able to speak with a person, and sometimes they do not get through at all.
  • Work Force One employees could be granted the ability to fix these “flags” and restore benefits. In order for that needs to happen, the director of Work Force One (Mason Jackson) needed to call Florida’s Agency for Workforce Innovation and request it.
  • There was no cost for this service




·      Obtained a commitment from Work Force 1 to train an employee for each of their 3 locations to correct these flags – streamlining the unemployment process.

·      The employees received training in Mid May 2009 and began providing this service

They served around 900 individuals a week


Drug Courts (2011)

The Problem:

  • Too many of our young men and women who are trapped by addictions are ending up in prison. In 2009 157,222 individuals were in our state prisons and 32% of them were African American.[1] It is estimated that nationally 80% of those in our criminal justice system have drug or alcohol addictions.
  • Our state is going broke spending millions of dollars on our prison system. In 2009 Florida spent two and half billion dollars on our prison system.[2] It costs $18,980 per year to incarcerate just one person.           

Drug Courts As Part of the soluton:

  • Drug-courts are programs where those who have drug or alcohol addictions and commit non-violent offenses can be sent to local drug-treatment and be monitored by a judge, rather than go to prison.
  • Those who go to drug court are 80% more likely not to commit a crime again than those who go to prison.[3]
  • It only costs $4,750 to send someone to drug court compared to almost $19,000/year to keep someone in prison.
  • This does not begin to count the costs we save when we help people get off of drugs and they become productive members of society again and are able to be good parents to their children.[4] 

The Florida Drug Court Expansion Program

  • In 2011, our state had $19 million from the federal government to expand drug courts in 8 counties in Florida as a pilot project to see if investing in drug courts can save the prison system money. (Those in pilot project: Broward, Escambia, Hillsborough, Marion, Orange, Pinellas, Polk, and Volusia.)
  • It is estimated that with this $19 million, 4,000 people could be diverted from prison, saving the state $95 million.[5]
  • However targeted offenders are not able to make use of this program become the criteria are too restrictive. In other words, there is too much red-tape keeping this program from being effective.
  • By November 2010, 2,000 inmates were supposed to have been served with over half the money spent. But in reality only 650 people had been admitted to the program, and only 14% of the money had been spent.
  • If Florida didn’t spend the $19 Million on this program, we will lose the money.


  • Working with 5 other organizations across the state of Florida, we got SB400 passed through both the house and the senate and signed into law by Governor Scott.


  • SB400 changes several “red tape” problems with admitting candidates into the drug court. It is estimated that over a 2 year period of time the drug courts will serve 4,000 people and save the state of Florida $95 million.

[1] Department of Corrections website, Fiscal year 2008-2009

[2] Legislative Appropriations System/Planning and Budgeting Subsystem

[3] OPPAGA_March_2009_Report

[4] 50% of those in the Pinellas drug court are women, most of them have children.

[5] Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability Report No. 10-54, October 2010


Elementary School Reading (2011-2013)


The Problem – Kids in elementry schools are not reading on grade level

Facts about the Problem (2011)

  • 72% of all students in Florida pass the 3rd Grade FCAT with a 3 or better
  • Out of 142 Elementary Schools in Broward County, 72 of them were below the state average (Source:
  • That means there were more than 5,069 3rd Grade students in Broward county schools in the 3rd grade alone who are not reading on grade level
  • 23 schools have less than 55% of their kids passing the FCAT with a 3+, and some have as few as 34% of kids reading at grade level.


  • What does it cost?
    • 59% of All 1st year students entering florida Colleges required remediation
    • It cost $129.8 million to provide this remediation – The state of Florida paid $70 million of that cost – meaning Florida residents paid for this education twice – once while in K-12 schools and again in college! (source: Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability; May 2007. Report No 07-31.  Available online at:


Characteristics of a strong reading program

According to Stuart Greenberg, executive director of Just Read Florida, successful elementary school curriculum have the following characteristics: 1) Well sequenced and systematic, 2) Explicit instruction, 3) Frequent Assessment of student growth so as they advance they can be given more complex texts, 4) Strong teacher training and support, 5) has documented success in improving reading performance.

Our Solution

  • Research has shown the Direct Instruction (Reading Mastery) program, when implemented properly with adequate training and support for teachers, to be the most effective educational strategy in underperforming schools


Supporting Research

  • Project Follow-Through (1977) – Conducted by the Department of Education. Over 75,000 low income children in 170 communities were involved in this project designed to evaluate different approaches to educating economically disadvantaged students in K-3.  Many of the programs were found to have a negative effect on children’s abilities.  Direct Instruction (Reading Mastery) was found to be the most effective (see graph on next page)
  • The Educators Guide to School Reform. (1999). A joint project by the American Institute for Research, American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, The National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Education Association.  Out of the 24 programs studied – only Direct Instruction and one other program showed strong positive effects on student achievement (source:
  • Article in the Journal of Psychology (2009). “Taken together, overall results indicate that some reading curricula seem to be associated with higher oral reading fluency scores. Specifically, students in Reading First schools and classrooms using Reading Mastery [Direct Instruction] demonstrated stronger oral reading fluency skills when compared to students in classrooms using other curricula.” (source: Journal of School Psychology 47 (2009) 187214; Crowe,Connor,and Petscher)
  • An Analysis of the Reading Mastery Program: Effective Components and Research Review. (2002) “Reading Mastery [Direct Instruction] results in positive reading and language outcomes for general education students, general education remedial readers, and students in special education. Relative to other reading curricula, instruction with Reading Mastery [Direct Instruction] appears to be more effective in improving student reading performance.” (source:


Success Stories using Reading Mastery / Direct Instruction   (source:

  • Roland Park Elementary School – Baltimore, Maryland (35% economically disadvantaged, 69% minority) – 1stgraders went from a mean national percentile in reading of 54.5 to 82.
  • Portland Elementary – Arkansas improved from 38th mean national percentile to just below 60th mean national percentile
  • Similar success stories were found in Fort Worth, Texas; Phoniex, Arizona, Lebanon, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois; Lomita, Califorina



  • BOLD Justice got a commitment from the Superintendent to pilot Direct Instruction in underperforming schools in Broward County.
  • Dillard Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale launched in the Fall 2013 and served around 300 students
  • Direct Instruction is a research based reading curriculum that has been shown to raise the grades of low performing students. It was more than 40 years of research documenting its success

Jobs (2012-2014)

The Problem

  • In 2012, Broward County had 77,000 people who were unemployed, the second largest number of people unemployed in the state.
  • Between 2007 and 2009, the number of unemployed skyrocketed from 34,000 to 87,000. This amounted in 53,000 additional people unemployed.  Since 2009, only 10,000 of these jobs have been recovered (source: Florida Dept. of Economic Opportunity).
  • Between December and Mid-January only 17,000 jobs were posted, we have a serious shortage of jobs. (source: Workforce One, HWOL vs. Jobseekers Report).

The Solution

  • BOLD Justice pushed for a county ordinance that would encourage local hiring and hiring of those traditionally considered “hard to hire”
  • The ordinance only applies to companies that contract with the county for $250,000 or more
  • It required that for the first 5 days a contract is available, they advertise exclusively with CareerSource Broward (WorkForce 1) and interview qualified candidates – essentially giving Broward residents the first opportunity to work on Broward jobs.
  • It required businesses make a good faith effort to interview and hire people considered “hard to hire”: veterans, long term unemployed, people with disabilities, people with felony records, etc


  • BOLD Justice got the county commission to pass the Workforce Investment Act.
  • The Workforce Investment Act is a program of the county the includes requirements and incentives for companies that do business with the county to hire local Broward County residents, as well as people who are traditionally hard to hire (i.e. Veterans, people without high school diplomas, people with a felony conviction, people who are low income, etc).
  • The policy went into effect in January 2015 and has already impacted more than $200 mill worth of contracts