Advocates Say Miami Commissioner's ‘Adopt-a-Homeless' Proposal Is Insincere

Commissioner Joe Carollo has proposed a program to fight homelessness in the city.

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Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo is proposing an idea to have residents voluntarily take in the homeless population off the streets and into their homes to help combat homelessness.

“I would like to create a new program today,” said Carollo at a City of Miami Commission meeting Oct. 14. “For all of you here, I’m sure, are going to jump right out of your seats and stand in line and be the first to help and that's the 'Adopt a Homeless' Program."

But that idea is being rejected by many homeless advocates in Miami.

“I’m sick of this hypocrisy,” screamed Carollo back at an upset crowd at the commission meeting. “They want to do so much."

The commissioner proposed the idea at a commission meeting, and it is expected to be voted on in the next commission meeting Oct. 28.

“Don’t deflect from the government's duty to provide affordable housing and to protect its vulnerable citizens,” said David Peery, a homeless advocate and who was once homeless himself. “That’s just a deflection.”

“It’s a very simple program,” said Carollo. “If that small group that is very loud that claims they want 500 condominiums to be built, that’s going to cost about $150 million that we don’t have, including the cost of land, are really sincere in helping, I’m sure a lot of them will step forward and do that.”

Carollo says no tax dollars will be used. But grants and help from homeless organizations will help pay families who take in the homeless.

Throughout the entire Miami Dade County, nearly 900 people are living on the streets, according to the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust. It’s a number they say has been on the decline, seeing fewer people living without shelter.

“I understand that some of you maybe don’t have room in your homes, you don’t have the space and that’s understandable,” Carollo said during the commission meeting. “So, maybe then in your front yard you can get a tent, those of you that have front yards, and have a homeless be adopted there or you can put them on the sidewalk in front of your building where you live.”

Peery believes the commissioner is being insincere about the idea he proposed.

“This is not a serious proposal,” said Peery. “It’s a very sarcastic proposal, especially with the way he phrased it."

When asked if he would accept someone who is homeless into his house, the commissioner said he would not.

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