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Fort Lauderdale starts clearing out tent city

A tent city next to the main library in downtown Fort Lauderdale is disappearing under a comprehensive approach to help the homeless there, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis announced on Monday.

An email from the Broward County Homeless Collaborative announced that 18 individuals experiencing homelessness left the encampment voluntarily after meeting with Outreach and Housing teams, to establish a path to permanent housing and supportive services. With owner consent, nine tents were removed. Each individual leaving the encampment packed their belongings to take with them or to be put into temporary storage.

Unsheltered homeless individuals coming to the encampment for services who had not previously been identified as residents of the encampment are receiving assistance through the Broward Homeless Continuum of Care, the collaborative said.

The comprehensive approach event extended to pets. Four dogs and two cats belonging to individuals living in the encampment were given rabies vaccinations, wellness checks and microchips so the pets can be safely housed with their owners. Owners were given a supply of pet food, collars and leashes.

An estimated 75 people had been living at the camp.

“For too long, the encampment between the library and Stranahan Park has stood as a symbol of our community’s inability to adequately address the issue of homelessness. The people there live in miserable conditions,” Trantalis said in a statement. “Under the initiative launched today, we are helping place them in supportive housing through a rapid rehousing program. We are combining housing with intensive case management in which individuals will receive assistance in finding work, recovering from substance abuse and overcoming health issues.”

An article in the October issue of SFBW told how former banker Lynne Wines had been hired as senior director of the Broward Business Council on Homelessness, an initiative backed by the United Way of Broward County, governmental agencies and business groups, including the Broward Workshop and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.

As both the article and Trantalis outlined, there has been a careful study of how to address the issue, including a trip by business and governmental leaders to Orlando, where the Central Florida city has addressed its homeless situation. Orlando’s subsequent success has served as a case study on solving the homelessness crisis.

A key part of Trantalis’ statement is that the partnership has identified housing units available to those in need.

“For some, the stay may be temporary while they receive job assistance or go through recovery. For others, the housing will be permanent because of physical or mental health issues,” Trantalis said. “In addition, we are committed to family reunification whenever possible and will make every attempt to seek out relatives that can assist.”

Trantalis said support from the business community has been vital and he specifically recognized AutoNation, BB&T, Bank of America and the Castle Group.

Want to help with the initiative? Contact Heather Davidson, the United Way’s director of public policy and advocacy, at hdavidson@unitedwaybroward.org or 954.308.9277.

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BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.