Eileen Higgins continues to help businesses and residents weather the COVID-19 pandemic
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins, District 5, has demonstrated the leadership and courage required of an elected representative during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prioritizing safety and economic recovery, Commissioner Higgins has pushed through legislation and programs funded through the Federal CARES Act, that are providing direct relief to residents and businesses as quickly as possible. From small businesses assistance grants, to helping individuals pay their rent through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, and making sure families have food on the table, Commissioner Higgins has led the way in getting resources to those most in need across Miami-Dade County and in District 5.
In March, as businesses shut their doors and workers had their hours cut or lost their jobs completely, families were left struggling to put food on the table. At the same time, Florida’s farmers needed to distribute the produce that normally went to local restaurants. In light of this situation, with many District 5 residents in need, Commissioner Eileen Higgins partnered with Unity Groves to bring the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program to District 5.
Through this program, over 22,000 fresh produce boxes have been distributed to residents in Little Havana and Miami Beach. As a public transit rider, Eileen Higgins knows firsthand that many residents in District 5 and across the county do not have access to a car. Commissioner Higgins directed the County administration to implement a comprehensive strategy to get food to residents without cars. Working together with the Miami-Dade Parks Department and City of Miami Police, Commissioner Higgins hosted weekly drive up and walk up food distributions in Little Havana, while also working with community partners to deliver food directly to homebound residents.
Residents without access to transportation have not been left behind.
The Commissioner has also championed important countywide assistance programs for businesses in Miami and Miami Beach like the Hospitality Industry Relief Fund that provides assistance to local independently owned and operated restaurants and non-home-based caterers. She also recently received the support of her colleagues on the County Commission to pass the Miami-Dade Arts Support Grant Program to provide relief to cultural and arts institutions and organizations like the small Hispanic theatres in Little Havana, as well as artists entrepreneurs who have lost revenue due to COVID-19.
“The arts and culture sector is vital to the County’s economic success, having an approximately $1.4 billion annual impact with more than 40,000 jobs. This industry is essential to making our community an attractive place to visit, develop a business, and raise a family”.Commissioner Eileen Higgins
Commissioner Higgins led the charge on a truly transformational fund that will continue growing Miami’s small business economy for years to come. Managed by the Dade County Federal Credit Union, The RISE Miami-Dade Fund is a $25 million revolving loan fund to help small and micro businesses across the County, many of which are minority-owned, access capital and receive technical assistance they need to weather the COVID-19 crisis. But in the longer term, it will become a permanent part of Miami-Dade’s small business infrastructure.
“Never before has the County made such a deliberate investment into our small business economy, giving more and more of our residents the opportunity to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true—and to experience the freedom and independence that owning your own business provides. So far over 1,000 applications have been received from all types of businesses including hair salons, insurance agencies and neighborhood supermarkets.”
Not forgetting about the Mom & Pops shops that line the vibrant neighborhood streets of Little Havana, Downtown, Coral Way, and Miami Beach, Commissioner Higgins launched the District 5 Retail Relief Program, recognizing that non-essential businesses experienced significant economic hardship when they were forced to shut down due to emergency orders. Over 50 grants of $1,000 have been awarded to help Mom & Pops pay the rent or mortgage of their commercial space.In implementing this program, Higgins wanted to relieve the stress of businesses that comes from making rent payments and allow them to focus paying staff and other reopening costs.
Commissioner Higgins is leading by example. She can frequently be seen in local areas like Calle Ocho, where she meets with business owners and locals to discuss ways to improve their everyday lives.
She is leading by example, proving that she is a politician for the people through sponsoring and implementing legislation that benefits struggling residents, businesses, and families in the County.
If you need to reach her office please feel free to get more information here.