The Voice: the e-newsletter of the Human Services Coalition
Issue 1 October 28, 2009
in this issue
Oona Romero Imagines Miami
How much do you know about Florida taxes?
Crippling budget cuts avoided
Faces of Homelessness Speaker's Bureau
Voices of Change: HSC Podcast
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HSC launches e-newsletter
Welcome to the first installment of our monthly e-newsletter. Each issue will bring you information about events at the Human Services Coalition (HSC) and stories of impactful change. We hope you find these words encouraging evidence of our march toward a better community in South Florida. Feel free to contact us with ideas for future issues.

To learn more about our programs, visit our website.
Changemaker Conference to build grassroots advocacy
The third Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference will focus on ways the government can effectively manage its money--a hot topic in Miami-Dade. We all want our elected officials to use taxpayer money wisely, but many wonder, how can I make this happen? Tax and budget experts and community organizers will address this daunting, but critical question at the conference, entitled "Show Us the Money: for Education, for Health Care, for Human Needs."
When: Friday, November 6, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: Temple Israel, 137 NE 19th St
Register online by Nov. 2!

Oona Romero is the volunteer coordinator for the Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference IIIOona Romero wants everyone to Imagine Miami
Before attending an Imagine Miami (IM) Changemaker Congerence, Oona Romero said, "I would always volunteer, but sometimes it felt as though I was unable to do all the things that I really had a passion for, as far as public service." It was at the IM Conferences that Oona first had the chance to see the many service opportunities that exist across the city. She met people from all over Miami, from non-profit workers to small business owners to parents just like herself.

Oona is a Public Ally and a devoted mother who cares deeply about serving her Little Havana community and Miami as a whole. "If you live in Miami, you need to go to the Imagine Miami Changemaker Conferences," she said.

At the conferences, Oona networked with a number of organizations; in particular, she met Sam Van Leer, director of Urban Paradise Guild. The organization, which works to re-create native habitats in the urban areas of Miami-Dade County, thoroughly impressed Oona, who started volunteering with them within the week.  Now, she brings her kids with her on cleanup days most weekends. (Hear more about Oona's experience in this month's Podcast).

For Oona, the Changemaker Conferences have changed the way she views the community. "The conference opens your eyes to the things you need and the people who can make things happen," she said. "I love it." Oona, the volunteer organizer for the third Conference, "Show Us the Money," is already looking forward to November 6 and the collaboration it will generate to improve South Florida. Register for the conference!
How well do you know  Florida's tax structure?take our quiz
  1. What percentage of Florida's general revenue comes from sales tax?
  2. What percentage of Florida's general revenue comes from corporate income tax?
  3. Of the following items, which are taxed: Disney World tickets, charter fishing boats, pet grooming supplies, pet grooming, car rental, limo service?
  4. How many states spend more than Florida on higher education?
  See answers.
Read more about tax reform advocacy in an interview with Karen Woodall of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy.
Community organizations rally for responsible budgeting

Human Services CoalitionThanks to the efforts of the many individuals and organizations who supported the Penny Wise Campaign, all community-based organizations (CBO's) supported by Miami-Dade County will receive 70% of their funding from last year. While a 30% cut is disappointing, it is far better than the complete elimination of funding proposed by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
The amount of support garnered by the fight for funding was impressive. More than 1,000 people signed the Penny Wise petition, asking that funding to CBO's be restored. By 8 a.m. on the days of the budget hearings, there were CBO advocates lined up to speak to the Commission.

The hearings went into the early morning hours due to the overwhelming number of people there to deliver public comment. Hundreds showed up to one or both of the rallies held at County Hall, singing songs they composed and chanting "Show us the money!" The lobby outside the Commission chamber was awash with people sporting green armbands (representing the funding CBO's deserve), Penny Wise stickers and their organizations' t-shirts and holding signs that say, "We Count!" 
Penny Wise Campaigners line up to speak at the county budget hearings.This was a concerted effort among nonprofits such as HSC, Switchboard of Miami, MUJER, Center for Independent Living and others, as well as local unions such as AFSCME. The level of participation throughout the campaign shows that residents of Miami-Dade desire a more transparent, engaging budgeting process. They want their voices heard when it comes to the way tax dollars are spent.
See videos of the rallies. Learn about the ongoing We All Count Campaign.
Miami Coalition for the HomelessFaces of Homelessness 
Speaker's Bureau launched

The Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. (MCH) is launching a new initiative this year--the Faces of Homelessness Speaker's Bureau. This public education initiative is an essential part of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless's mission.
Homeless and formerly homeless people are the real experts on homelessness and MCH believes their voices are essential in the fight to end homelessness in Miami-Dade County. The National Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. established this unique and necessary tool, providing a significant platform for those whom homelessness directly affects to talk personally about their experiences. The Speaker's Bureau creates opportunities for members to advocate for themselves and others, as well as build necessary bridges with the rest of our community.
To learn more about the Faces of Homelessness Speaker's Bureau, please contact Emily Richburg, 305-571-8101 or
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