PEACE

People Engaged in Active Community Efforts

Background

People Engaged in Active Community Efforts (PEACE) is an organization of religious congregations and groups which are working together to solve critical community problems. We are not a service provider, but a grassroots, direct action, multi-issue organization, which has come together to be a powerful force for improving the quality of life in our communities.

What is PEACE currently working on?

Homelessness 
There are 4,295 homeless CHILDREN in Palm Beach County. The Health Care District reports that 8,210 homeless people came into their clinics last year. In short – we have a Homelessness crisis! Housing solves homelessness. However, according to the annual Federal HUD Report, over the past 4 years, our County has lost 366 beds for our homeless brothers and sisters.

The County set aside $25 million from the penny sales tax money, for housing units for the homeless and extremely low-income. However, our research showed that they had no clear plan for when this would be spent, and how many units of housing it would result in.

Our “ask” at the Nehemiah Action of Commissioner Bernard was that he develop a timeline, with yearly goals, for the expenditure of this money.  He said yes! We will be meeting with him, and County Administrator Verdenia Baker, in the near future to review a draft timeline.

Community IDs
Thousands in Palm Beach County suffer for lack of an acceptable form of identification. They are immigrants, persons re-entering society after prison, the homeless, elderly, and more. They need an ID in encounters with law enforcement, to open a bank account, to receive medical more, and more.

In our research, we found model Community ID Programs from throughout the country.  Legal Aid Society committed to establish such a program, if provided the funding. At our Nehemiah Action, West Palm Beach Mayor Muoio publicly committed to lead a coalition of cities who will get this Program funded and up and running!

On June 27, 2018, PEACE leaders and the Mayor presented the Program to the League of Cities. We will be following up with at least two cities which expressed an interest, and we expect to get the Community ID Program up and running on October 1, 2018!

What has PEACE accomplished in recent years?

Establishing a Neighborhood Accountability Board (NAB)
In 2013, PEACE got the city of West Palm Beach to establish and fund a Neighborhood Accountability Board program, which takes youthful offenders and puts them in a research-based program proven to turn their lives around.

Getting Money Back in the Hands of Wage Theft Victims
In 2013, PEACE got the County Commission to pass a Wage Theft Resolution, allocating money to Legal Aid Society to take on cases of wage theft and creating a special Wage Theft Docket within the court system. To date, $936,801 has been recovered for 1,000 wage theft victims.

Accepting Consular IDs to Cut Down on Unnecessary Arrests
In 2015, we discovered that nearly 500 undocumented members of our community were being taken to Jail yearly for the sole offense of driving without a license. We got Sheriff Bradshaw to establish a policy accepting consular IDs (if those stopped for driving without a license can present a consular ID, they will be issued a citation but not taken to Jail). In the last two years, this policy saved nearly 400 people from being taken to jail – saving their dignity and saving our system $2 million.

Saving Our Kids’ Futures
Far too many children in our county and our state are arrested for first time misdemeanors, despite a state status that gives law enforcement officers an option to issue a civil citation instead. 724 children in the county (and 13,159 in the state) were being arrested for first time misdemeanors when we first got into this fight four years ago.

Locally and throughout the state, in partnership with our sister DART organizations, we worked to get Police increasing their usage of civil citations. As a result, this past year – the numbers of children arrested are HALF of what they were five years ago. Then, this past April, we got a state bill passed that mandates that every jurisdiction throughout the state has a juvenile civil citation program. We anticipate an even greater drop in arrests, as a result.

Glades Jobs to Glades Residents!
In January of 2015, PEACE got the Board of County Commissioners to unanimously pass the Glades Employee Incentive Program, which provides a 30% salary reimbursement incentive to employers who hire Glades residents for County projects.

Contact Us

100 N. Palmway
Lake Worth, FL 33460
Tel. 561-882-0403

Emily Small
Lead Organizer
peacepbc@gmail.com

Virginia Donnal
Associate Organizer
virginia@thedartcenter.org

www.peacepbc.org