The following post is sponsored by Our Neighborhoods. All thoughts are my own.
Last week we were finishing cleaning up and getting ready for bed when red and blue lights from outside filled our foyer. We quickly ran outside to see what was going on. Our street was filled with city officials including cops, fire fighters and EMTs. It took us a few minutes to figure out what was going on. As we walked across the street to see if we could help our neighbors, our neighbor was loaded into the ambulance on a stretcher with neck brace on and lots of blood everywhere.
We learned from his son that he was working out and had an accident that knocked him out cold. After checking on the kids we were greeted by all our neighbors. Everyone had come out concerned about what was going on. We all stayed and talked for about 20 minutes. It reminded me just how lucky we are to live in a neighborhood where everyone cares about each other. And that we live in a town with such incredible public servants.
Yesterday, we were able to talk to our neighbors and get the full story. Our neighbor and his daughter had gone for a run. Then they were going to finish their work out with weights in their garage. Their daughter went inside to get something. The dad was setting up the weights for them to use. As he was walking in the garage he tripped over a wooden box they use for jumping. When he tripped his head hit the side of the box and knocked him out.
As the President of a Women's Leadership and Training nonprofit organization I am fortunate to have access to learn about other nonprofits in our town. So, when Our Neighborhoods Coalition reached out to me to share the importance of preserving the safety of our children and communities I could not wait to get started.
Our Neighborhoods Coalition
Our Neighborhoods is a non-partisan coalition of neighbors formed by national child advocates. The coalition includes child safety advocates, former law enforcement officials, parents, civic leaders, housing experts, homeowner association presidents and academics. Their goal is to have a collective voice on issues that affect every day neighborhoods.
Community safety is a key priority, along with addressing emerging issues that impact our neighborhoods today, including local land-use decisions, public safety, short-term rentals, cost of housing and sustainability. Ultimately, the group serves as a voice and information hub for groups across the state to engage government leaders in addressing issues that impact the quality of life of Florida’s communities.
We live in the same neighborhood I lived in as a child. When we were picking a place to raise our family our list of must haves included being close to our friends, family, work, a park, and the beach as well as a good school district. Knowing our neighbors is one of the reasons we love living here.
Now as a parent my eyes have been opened to things that should have been on the list that I did not know. Things like where sexual predators live in relation to your house. When I first learned that sexual offenders need to register I went straight to the website to see if we have any registered offenders in our neighborhood. I was relieved to see that we currently do not have any registered sex offenders in our neighborhood. Now Our Neighborhoods has opened my eyes to the possible negative impact of having short term rentals in your neighborhood.
I had always just thought about the positives of companies like Airbnb. As a guest, I love being able to stay in a residential area. And as a homeowner I think being able to earn extra income is very interesting. Unfortunately, some investors have taken advantage of the opportunity and are using their residential properties to operate a lodging business in what was created and zoned as residential.
As a mom and a homeowner, I want all neighborhoods to feel safe at all hours of the day. The trend of short-term rental growth is putting the safety of children at risk. Tools like sex offender lists are ineffective if offenders are staying at short-term rentals. So, while I feel safe knowing there are no registered sex offenders in my neighborhood, it may be a false sense of safety,
Some people may debate that it is their right as a homeowner, it is about common-sense protections for our children and neighborhoods throughout Florida. Individuals and families should be able to rent out their primary residence, allowing true home sharing to occur. But this process is being taken advantage of by commercial interests who are not vested in the community, aren’t following safety and health regulations, and not even paying taxes like other local businesses.
Join our neighborhoods coalition today.