June 17, 2017 - Volume 1 Issue 2


Broward County has the highest disparity between low wages and the high cost of housing in Florida. We are ranked 67th of the 67 counties in the state. That’s unacceptable. And that’s why working to solve the affordable workforce housing crisis was among my top priorities when I was elected to the Broward County Commission.

Through my service on the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care Board as well as the Coordinating Council of Broward, I have been working with various non-profits, city and county officials, the business community, and housing activists to determine the best methods for solving this intractable problem.

Recently, over 200 individuals participated in the Broward Housing Summit at Nova Southeastern University. Business, community, and government leaders came together to find solutions for Broward’s affordable workforce housing crisis. They agreed that we need a new, dedicated source of funding. The Governor and Legislature need to stop raiding the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, to which Broward has contributed $100 million more than it has received over the past six years. Unfortunately, Florida House Speaker Corcoran believes the Sadowski Trust Fund has become too generous in easing costs for “fully salaried and employed” citizens. Speaker Corcoran doesn’t appear to understand the purpose of the trust fund. It was created to serve exactly those citizens – the population that suffers because Broward has the most cost-burdened housing market in the nation, with the greatest disparity between low wages and high cost of housing.


The Broward County Homeless Continuum of Care Board, on which I serve, is a Broward County advisory board that makes recommendations to the County Commission for the establishment and implementation of joint local homeless assistance and the Homeless Initiative Partnership (HIP) programs with municipalities and private entities within Broward County. The Broward County Commission voted unanimously to adopt the Homeless Continuum of Care Board’s proposed recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners regarding alternative solutions to the criminalization of homelessness, and to authorize and encourage the Continuum to discuss these alternative solutions with the County’s municipalities.

The proposed recommendations include the creation of comprehensive systems of care that combine housing with behavioral health and social service support, collaboration between law enforcement and behavioral health and social service providers, and the implementation of alternative justice system strategies to reduce involvement with the criminal justice system. The key to ending homelessness is rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing combined with intensive case management services. Expansion of housing stock rather than shelter
beds is essential to implementing community-wide plans to end homelessness.


"The key to ending homelessness is rapid re-housing and
permanent supportive housing combined with intensive case management services.


Opioid Epidemic Declared a Public Health Emergency

An executive order from the Governor declaring the opioid crisis a state health emergency has qualified Florida for more than $27 million in federal grant funding. The money will be allocated to the Managing Entities across the state for disbursement consistent with local needs. And Broward has many needs due to this epidemic. Last year there were 582 deaths due to opioid overdoses and 1,000 are expected this year! We anticipate our Managing Entity, the Broward Behavioral Health Coalition (BBHC) will receive approximately $2 million to expand Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) services as a part of a comprehensive plan to address the opioid crisis. MAT is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a holistic approach for the treatment of substance abuse disorders.

Opiod Epidemic State Representatives Lori Berman and Joe Geller, Commissioner Nan Rich and State Representative Richard Stark

State Representatives Lori Berman and Joe Geller, Commissioner
Nan Rich and State Representative Richard Stark

Homestead Exemption Bill Costs Far More Than It Saves

During the 2017 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature passed HJR 7105, a resolution that will allow voters to decide whether to increase the homestead exemption by another $25,000. It’s great politics, but bad public policy. While the average homeowner may save a little over 50 cents a day, $644 million will be slashed from budgets across the state including $32.4 million from Broward County. This bill is extremely short-sighted and completely politically motivated. The Legislature needs to focus on a financially viable tax base that funds the essential needs of Floridians. Voters will need to decide whether a property tax break of an average $200 for eligible homeowners is more
important than the painful cuts Broward County government may be forced to make to human services, libraries, parks, and public safety.

Homestead Exemption Bill Costs Far More Than It Saves


Recently, I had the privilege of attending the 5th anniversary celebration of the Broward Veteran’s Treatment Court. This ceremony had special meaning for me because the Veteran’s Court was created in 2012, my last year in the legislature, and I attended the opening ceremony 5 years ago! Many veterans return home with mental health issues connected to the trauma of combat. Sadly, some turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with everyday life and ultimately end up in the criminal justice system. The Broward Veteran’s Treatment Court serves as an alternative to the traditional court setting and was developed to avoid unnecessary incarceration of veterans who have developed mental health and/or substance abuse problems. Over 600 veterans have entered the program to date. Judge Ed Merrigan, a distinguished veteran and Colonel in the U.S. Army, compassionately presides over Broward’s Veterans Court.

Judge Ed Merrigan and Commissioner Nan Rich (Caption)
Judge Ed Merrigan and Commissioner Nan Rich


On June 6, 2017, Mayor Sharief, Commissioner Udine and I co-sponsored a resolution opposing the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the United States. The resolution was unanimously co-sponsored and approved by all the Commissioners. The resolution affirms that the Broward County Commission has a history of leadership on climate change initiatives and has long acknowledged that global climate change, the sustainability of our environment and economy, and our quality of life are affected by greenhouse gas emissions and our commitment to renewable energy. We therefore remain committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 80% below 2010 levels by 2050 and recommit to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact.

As Chair of the Broward Climate Change Task Force, I have become heavily involved in achieving the goals set forth in The Broward Climate Change Action Plan. This plan, originally published in 2010, contains recommendations for a countywide action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change. As of this year, there are 94 specific strategic actions that are to be implemented by local governments, community partners, and residents. Fortunately, almost 73% of the 94 action recommendations are partially or fully addressed. If you are interested in reading the full action plan, you may find it at http://www.broward.org/NaturalResources/ClimateChange/Pages/default.aspx.

Co-Sponsors of the Resolution: Mayor Barbara Sharief,
Commissioner Michael Udine and Commissioner Nan Rich


April was “Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month.” The Broward County Commission recognized it by officially declaring April 25th as “Denim Day.” Denim Day is a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. I presented proclamations to six agencies and organizations that assist victims of sexual violence and child abuse, including the Nancy J. Cotterman Center (NJCC), Broward’s 40- year-old rape crisis and children’s advocacy center. In 2016 alone, the dedicated employees of the NJCC assisted over 4,000 victims! Prevention is possible by increasing awareness, educating our community, supporting survivors, and shattering stigmas surrounding sexual violence.

Denim Day!


Last year, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles updated the “Animal Friend” plate with a brand new design! I am particularly proud of this plate because I sponsored the bill to create it when I served in the Legislature. (I have one on my car too!) By purchasing a Florida Animal Friend License plate, you help fund free and low-cost spay and neuter programs across the state. Your individual annual donation adds up to dozens of large grants to non-profit organizations across the state. If you already have a Florida Animal Friend plate and want to switch to the new one, click this link for more information: http://floridaanimalfriend.org/purchase-a-plate/

Calling All Animal Lovers!

Contact Us

County Commissioner Nan Rich - District 1
Broward County Commission | 115 S. Andrews Ave. Room 412 | Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Email - NRich@Broward.org | Website - Broward.org | Phone: 954-357-7001