Leading Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Bobbie Ibarra seeks to build greater community support around the issue
After working everywhere from Citibank to Miami-Dade County to Jungle Island, long-time Miamian Bobbie Ibarra recently took the helm of Miami Coalition for the Homeless.
The organization raises money by selling surplus military equipment and has an invested endowment worth more than $5 million. It disburses that money to a number of groups throughout the community that do everything from offer meals to the homeless to provide shelter to try to get them employed.
Only a few weeks on the job, Ms. Ibarra said she's looking for a better way to oversee the group's coalition fund and wants to establish a strategic plan that lines up with the goals of the Homeless Trust, which the coalition helped start.
Miami has garnered attention nationwide for its staggering reduction in homeless, from more than 8,000 to less than 800 living on the streets today.
Ms. Ibarra said it is difficult to pinpoint what's needed to completely eradicate homelessness, or if it could actually be done, but that increased community support around the issue could help reduce that number.
Finding that support is her primary goal.
"The biggest mark for me would be for there to be a ground flow of community support around the issue," she said. "That's working with faith-based communities who share like missions, getting parishioners to speak to the issues."
She discussed her plans for the coalition, her thoughts on the City of Miami's "no-panhandling law" and the controversial panhandling meters with Miami Today staff writer Zachary Fagenson.
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