April 17, 2017


First, let me begin by wishing everyone a Happy Easter, a Happy Passover and a Happy Earth Day. Spring has sprung, and our office has been busy at work with several projects.

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My Next Move 2017

I cannot fully express how grateful I am to all of the partners who helped make this year’s annual “My Next Move: An Education/Career & Work Readiness Program” such a huge success. The program would not have been possible without the help of the Broward County Public Schools, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Washington Park CEC, the Children's Services Council, OIC of South Florida, CareerSource Broward and Hispanic Unity of Florida.

This year, the event was on Thursday, April 6th at South Broward High School for specially selected students from South Broward High School, McArthur High School, Hollywood Hills High School and Hallandale High School. It has become an annual event, and I am pleased to see that it continues to grow in new and impressive ways.

The idea for “My Next Move” came out of a series of discussions that focused on what our community can do to connect our high school graduates with meaningful opportunities for employment. Our public schools put a tremendous effort into making sure all of our students are college ready, yet every year there are hundreds of seniors who earn their diplomas without any set plans to attend college, and need direction and/or contacts in finding suitable employment that coincides with their skills and interests.

These students showed up, took the tests, and passed their classes. But we should recognize that for many families, college may still be out of reach even when you play by the rules. What’s more, Broward County has seen dramatic growth in our local economy year over year since the end of the recession. This means that opportunities exist for these graduates, but we need to do more to help make connections between our high school graduates and the industries right here in our backyard.

As part of “My Next Move”, these students received training in professionalism, interviewing techniques, writing an effective resume and cover letter. We understand that it takes a wide array of soft skills to succeed in today’s job market, and the individualized attention given to these students will help them for years to come.

Photos -

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Broward Reads – A National Pacesetter Community

As our regular readers are surely aware, I serve as Co-Chair of the Broward Reads Coalition. It is my distinct honor to announce that Broward Reads is now nationally recognized as a “Pacesetter Community” by the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The National Campaign for Grade Level Reading recognized Broward County for “leading by example,” and they cited our accomplishments for collectively working to solve the challenges that can undermine early literacy such as school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning.

Broward County is now part of a nationwide network of more than 300 Grade Level Reading Campaign communities representing 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Campaign communities are dedicated to narrowing the achievement gap between children from low income families and their more affluent peers. According to the U.S. Department of Education, that gap has widened significantly in recent years, with 80 percent of children from low-income families failing to read proficiently in fourth grade compared with 49 percent of their more affluent peers. Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a milestone on a child’s path to high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives.

Pacesetter Communities like ours, recognize that mobilizing every sector of our community is essential to closing the achievement gap. The map above indicates municipalities which have joined in being part of “Broward Reads in Your City.” The goal is to have all of Broward’s 31 municipalities participating with us. I invite you to get involved. Find out what is going on in your area that promotes early literacy. Join the effort and spread the good news! To learn more about Broward Reads and the Campaign for Grade Level Reading visit their website.

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Hollywood’s St Patrick’s Day Parade

I had the pleasure of participating in the City of Hollywood’s 19th Annual St Patrick’s Day Parade last month. It was the perfect day for a parade downtown, as the clouds cleared and the sun came out for a crisp spring day. Each year this event seems to grow, and I was happy to see so many residents come downtown with their friends and family to celebrate together.

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Leadership Hollywood XLI County Government Day

The Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce brought the 41st class of Leadership Hollywood to the County Government Center on March 23rd for their County Government/Criminal Justice Day. This year, the class got an overview on the structure of County Government from the perspectives of the Commission, the County Administrator’s Office, the County Attorney, the Property Appraiser and a representative of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Broward County Attorney, Joni Armstrong Coffey, addressing Leadership Hollywood Class XLI

From there, the class got a full tour of the Main Library next to the Government Center, where they heard an update on the County’s Beach Renourishment and Sand Bypass Projects from staff.

If you might be interested in applying for Leadership Hollywood Class XLII please visit their website.

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Water Matters Day Recognizes Hollywood’s Desoto Oceanview Inn and Desoto Ocean Spray Inn with a NatureScape Emerald Award

Vice Mayor Furr with Laurie Schecter, Owner and Steve Welsch, General Manager of the Desoto Oceanview Inn and Desoto Ocean Spray Inn

Hollywood’s Desoto Oceanview Inn and Desoto Ocean Spray Inn are shining examples of environmental stewardship. Laurie Schecter and her General Manager, Steve Walsh have shown an ongoing commitment to environmentally enhance the properties through the use of solar panels, rain barrels and composting practices. The diverse plant pallet in this harsh seaside environment is labeled for the guests’ education and enjoyment.

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Sponsoring the US Coral Reef Conference

At the April 4th Commission Meeting, I brought forth an item to the Board to have Broward County sponsor the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) Conference. The conference will take place that will be taking place in Fort Lauderdale August 7th through the 12th of this year. The US Coral Reef Task Force was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order to lead US efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF includes leaders of 12 Federal agencies, seven US states, territories, and commonwealths, and three Freely Associated States.

Every year they hold one meeting in Washington DC, and a second meeting in one of the 10 jurisdictions. This marks the first meeting the task force has been held in Florida since 2011.

Southeast Florida’s coral reefs, in addition to their intrinsic environmental value, have a substantial economic value. A 2001 economic study of southeast Florida’s reefs showed that the reefs regionally (Palm Beach through Monroe counties) provide $1.2 billion in income ($547 million in Broward County), $2.7 billion in sales ($1.1 billion in Broward), and 44,500 jobs (19,000 in Broward). The region’s coral reef tract is currently degenerating from a coral disease epidemic and water quality degradation. This meeting in Fort Lauderdale will provide an opportunity to highlight our environmental issues at a high level.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Roundtable on Airport Security

I want to thank Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for putting together a Roundtable Discussion on Airport/Aviation Security a few weeks ago. The Congresswoman’s office hosted representatives from several major airlines, the FBI, the Federal Air Marshall Administration, Homeland Security, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Broward County Aviation, Broward Emergency Management and others. Together we discussed feedback each agency has received as we compile our after action reports, and there is much that I learned, but would not want to broadcast to the public at this time.

Still, I greatly appreciate that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz made the point to reach out to me as a representative of the County Commission. Broward County owns and operates the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport as well as the North Perry Regional Airport, and the fundamental security of these facilities is of the utmost priority to all of us. That is why I take some comfort in getting to see how much collaboration exists amongst the various agencies that ensure the safe and orderly operation of these vital facilities.

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Affordable Housing Summit

Cooper City Mayor, and Broward League of Cities President, Greg Ross speaking at the March 29th Affordable Housing Summit

The Coordinating Council of Broward and the Broward Housing Council held an Affordable Housing Summit on March 29th to address Broward's affordable/workforce housing crisis. We discussed the need for a local dedicated funding source to subsidize the costs associated with planning and building both affordable and workforce housing.

The Coordinating Council of Broward (CCB) is composed of the top executives of State and County entities from the public, private and business sectors who are responsible for funding and implementing a broad array of health, public safety, education, economic and human services. The CCB has identified affordable housing as the most critical issue impacting Broward County's working families. South Florida ranks #1 in the gap between wages and housing, and Broward County is 67th of 67 Florida counties in the disparity between low wages and high cost of housing.

Affordable Housing Basic Terms

Area Median Income (AMI) - Median annual household income (pre-tax) for a metropolitan area, subarea of a metropolitan area, or non-metropolitan county

Housing Costs - Includes the household's rent or mortgage payments, utility payments, property taxes, insurance, and mobile home and condominium fees, as applicable

Affordable Housing - Housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a household's gross income

Cost Burdened - Household pays > 30 percent of its gross income on housing costs

Severely Cost Burdened - Household pays > 50 percent of its gross income on housing costs

The number of cost burdened owner and renter households in Broward County has continued to increase at the same rates as during the housing bubble. 49.7 percent of households in Broward County (330,624 households) are cost-burdened. There are 127,382 cost burdened renter households in Broward County, of which, 52 percent are “extremely” cost burdened, a 15.2 percent increase since 2009. Escalating housing prices are significantly impacting Broward County’s working families and households. Most working families and households earn salaries and wages in service sector occupations, including retail trade, leisure and hospitality, and educational and health services. The majority (54 percent) of Broward County‘s workers are employed in low-wage service sector occupations with hourly wages that translate to workers earning 40-60 percent of the County’s median household income. The study found over 65 percent of owners and 90 percent of renters in these income categories are cost burdened.

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Homelessness/$12 Million Grant - Call for Landlords

Related to the issue of Affordable Housing, Broward County is working to find stable permanent housing for homeless individuals. On April 4th, the Board of County Commissioners voted to authorize the appropriation and disbursement of United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") Grant funds in the amount of $8,157,259 and a HUD-required match amount of $373,648, for a total amount of $8,530,907 for Fiscal Year 2017 and 2018, to provide housing and services for homeless families and individuals. Though this is a large investment, the only way to reach a permanent solution is to work with stakeholders in the community. This is where you come in.

One of the challenges we face in our efforts to end homelessness in Broward County is finding enough housing units. We cannot overcome this challenge without landlords willing to participate. It may not surprise you that Broward County has a wide array of rental properties. Even during a time of high demand for rentals, there are more than enough available properties to house every homeless person in this County.

Commissioner Furr talking with landlord and property manager, Frank Johnson at the October 2016 Landlord Recruitment Breakfast

So what’s in it for the landlord? For one thing, our Permanent Housing programs guarantee the payment of fair market value rent directly to the landlord. Plus, most programs guarantee that caseworkers will assist the individual or family on a regular basis. These caseworkers help their clients with everything from finding and holding a job to managing a household budget.

If you are a landlord with properties to rent, you are invited to participate in the Landlord Recruitment Initiative.

• As a landlord, you will receive a fair and reasonable rent.
• Security deposit and last month’s rent are paid up front.
• Timely rent payments are guaranteed.
• Tenants are pre-screened and must demonstrate a commitment to achieving self-sufficiency.
• Families and veterans are pre-qualified.
• Case managers are available to assist landlords and tenants.

Sign Up Today
For more information on how you can help end homelessness Broward County, contact:

Broward Outreach Center
Rachel Edwards, Housing Navigator

Broward Partnerships
Chantel Pierre, Housing Navigator

Or you can find more information at broward.org/homeless.

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Seen Being Green in Hollywood

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Upcoming Earth Day at Ann Kolb

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New City Manager and City Attorney in Hallandale Beach

I would like to welcome the new City Manager, Roger Carlton, and City Attorney Jennifer Marino to Hallandale Beach. Mr. Carlton has more than 30 years of experience in both city and county management across South Florida. He comes to Hallandale Beach having previously worked for the Cities of Miami Beach, Miami, and Surfside.

Ms. Marino worked with the Miami-Dade and Broward Office of the Inspector General prior to coming on board in Hallandale Beach.

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The City of Pembroke Pines Names New City Center “Charles F. Dodge City Center”

The City of Pembroke Pines has named its new City Center Complex the “Charles F. Dodge City Center” in honor of its long serving City Manager, Charles F. Dodge.

Everyone is invited to attend the ribbon cutting and opening ceremony for the “Charles F. Dodge City Center” which will take place on Wednesday, April 19th at 2 PM. Immediately following, guests can enjoy light refreshments, live entertainment and tour the new City Hall, Commission Chambers, state-of-the-art performance/conference space, and “The Frank,” a multi-disciplinary, two-story art gallery and learning space.

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Passing of Abe Fischler

Abraham S. Fischler, or Abe as he was known, passed away on April 3rd of this year. Abe was a true visionary. He took over the leadership of Nova Southeastern University when it only had 17 students, and turned it into the incredible institution it is today. I know that he is going to be missed, but his work will be with us forever.

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Contact Us

Contact Us

Our district office is conveniently located in the lobby of the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library at 2600 Hollywood Blvd, next to Hollywood City Hall. This office is open for your convenience Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. If you would like to schedule an appointment, or you have a great idea, suggestion or an issue that needs my attention, feel free to call me at 954-357-7006/7790 or send me an email at bfurr@broward.org.

County Commissioner Beam Furr District 6
Broward County Commission | 115 S. Andrews Ave. Room 412 | Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Email - BFurr@Broward.org | Website - Broward.org | Phone: 954-357-7006