Miami-Dade County's Temporary Emergency Meals Service for Seniors to discontinue enrollment on June 6, 2020
The Community Action and Human Services Department will continue to assist seniors who qualify for Meals on Wheels, SNAP and other state and federal programs as the County’s temporary meals service is set to sunset on July 15, 2020
On March 16, 2020, Miami-Dade County launched a temporary emergency seniors meals program in an effort to help elderly residents stay safer at home and protect this most vulnerable group from the COVID-19 pandemic. This highly successful life-saving program has delivered more than 5.1 million meals since its inception. Now in its 12th week, the emergency program will begin to wind down, and the Community Action and Human Services Department (CAHSD) will assist seniors in need to continue to receive meals through various state and federal programs.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said, “One of the first steps I took during the COVID-19 pandemic was to close the senior community centers including the County's 21 community centers to protect seniors, who are at higher risk of suffering serious health conditions if they get the virus. Those centers provided meals for seniors, so we immediately stepped in to deliver meals to those seniors and to any other senior in our community needing meals to make sure that they remained ‘safer at home’ and healthy.
“Today, I’m happy to report this program has been a tremendous success, and it has saved lives,” Gimenez added. “Now that most of our businesses are operating again under our New Normal rules and we continue to tamp down the virus, we will transition those seniors receiving services from this County-run emergency program to the proper federal and state agencies.”
Currently, the emergency senior meals program is serving 82,412 County residents age 60 and older. Miami-Dade County has spent about $51 million so far on this emergency measure.
“I’m very proud that we were able to provide this life-saving service at a moment’s notice,” said Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp, who Mayor Gimenez assigned to oversee the creation of the program, which has had as many as 114,000 residents calling the County’s 311 Contact Center seeking meals over the past three months.
Working with the Florida Department of Children and Families, CAHSD will be helping seniors in need to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and state or federal programs they may need before the emergency meals program ends on July 15, 2020. Miami-Dade County Public Libraries will also have SNAP applications available for residents. They can fill out paper applications or log in using library computers to apply. Residents can also apply online at myflorida.com/accessflorida or by calling 866-762-2237 (TTY 1-800-955-8771).
Residents who are registered in Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care will also be reconnected with their provider to resume any services that may have been dropped.
"Serving the community is at the core of the CAHSD mission, and I am humbled by the ongoing dedication and commitment of our employees to make this endeavor a success,” said Lucia Davis-Raiford, CAHSD director.
Senior community centers will remain closed at this time. However, all residents who were receiving those congregate meals prior to the pandemic will continue to get home delivery through Meals on Wheels or other programs.