Through a polling of Florida's congregations, UULMF has taken on Homelessness and Climate Change as its two focal areas for monitoring and engaging Florida UUs in helping to "raise the visibility of Unitarian Universalism and its values to policy makers and the larger community." Here, we offer brief overviews of Homelessness and Climate Change, the two current major issues receiving the attention of UULMF. Over 60,000 homeless men, women and children currently live in Florida. And as the housing crisis deepens and the state of the U.S. economy worsens, that number is growing exponentially. UULMF, the Florida Coalition for the Homeless, and others are currently addressing carefully identified vital key issues in the effort to combat homelessness in Florida. Click here o see an up to date list of these vital homelessness issues. To learn about some of the homelessness resources around the state, click on this link. The Florida Coalition for the Homeless, cites some critical statistics in a 2008 report:
- Florida has the third largest homeless population in the nation
- 23% are children and 8% are over the age of 60
- Almost 40% are employed and 18% are employed full-time
- 39% are homeless for more than a year
- 58% of the total have been homeless at least two or more times In fostering services to this population, the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Florida (UULMF) seeks to engage and build an interfaith community of activists, empowering them with information and tools, working towards a committed network of Voices of the Unheard. The Legislative Ministry'sVoices of the Unheard program aims to engage and energize Florida's UU congregations, Clusters and social justice activists on this issue, offer education about the ongoing situation of Florida's homeless, and provide tools, skills, and information to support UUs and friends of UUs in addressing relevant issues. Launching our program for 2009, UULMF partnered with the Florida Coalition for the Homeless to sponsor the first annual Legislative Day at the state capitol in Tallahassee March 24-25. UULMF mobilized scores of UUs from congregations statewide who converged on Tallahassee at the beginning of the legislative session, where they teamed up with volunteers from the Coalition and elsewhere to raise awareness with state legislators and the public of the serious, escalating plight of Florida's homeless. For more information about UULMF's work combatting homelessness in Florida, contact our Chair Dr. Steve Segner, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consequences of climate change are real, on their way, and potentially devastating. In Florida, research shows that rising sea levels will increase beach erosion, cause saltwater intrusion into water supplies, inundate coastal marshes in the Everglades and other important fishery habitats, and make coastal property more vulnerable to storm surges. More-extreme weather will include intense rainfall, floods, droughts, and tropical storms, altering freshwater flows into estuaries and lagoons, exacerbating polluted runoff and water supply problems, and damaging coastal habitats, property, and important agricultural cash crops. Higher ocean temperatures will cause extensive coral bleaching, increase marine diseases, alter species' ranges and population, and harm fisheries. Senior citizens and others with serious health challenges will be especially at risk from heat stress, degraded air quality, and possibly increased incidence of infectious disease. Increased wildfires will threaten forests, natural areas, and homes. Volunteer to participate in UULMF's climate change initiatives.Click here. For more information about UULMF's work concerning climate change in Florida, contact our Chair Dr. Steve Segner, Ph.D. at email@example.com.
Climate Change Sources: Feeling the Heat in Florida: Global Warming on a Local Level; Natural Resources Defense Council and Florida Climate Alliance, 2001; and Preparing for a Sea Change in Florida, Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition, 2008.