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Thousands Of South Florida Renters Facing Eviction




MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As the housing market continues to boom, thousands of people in South Florida are facing eviction. Realtors say some landlords are making unethical and, at times, unlawful decisions.

“People who have lived in their homes 15 years, 20 years, now they’re being told you have 30 days to move,” says Rosa Decarlo, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Partners SW.

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Every day people are being evicted so homeowners can sell while the market is hot. A 30-day notice to move out of your home is legal but some landlords are pushing renters out of the door much faster. Raymond Henry, a renter in Little Haiti was given just three days’ notice.

“They want to fry me and get me out of here,” says Henry.

Raymond is a single father of three. He repairs motorcycles and cars for a living and is a musician in his spare time.

Just before Christmas, he was served an eviction notice.

“I have anxiety I have to go out every day and work.. come back to my house makes sure nobody is trying to get in,” says Henry.

When COVID hit, Ray applied for Our Florida; renters’ assistance, which he was granted. They paid his landlord several months’ rent but shortly after that, the landlord sold the property to a new owner and kept the money.

“Took the payments and ran and never provided the payments to the new landlord which he was supposed to do. So, the new landlord evicted him. Gave him a 3 days’ notice right before the holidays,” says Decarlo.

Since then, Ray has been in and out of court fighting the eviction. The court ruled in his favor. His current landlord was paid but the fight to kick him and his family out continues.

“They already made it clear they don’t want the government’s money; they don’t want my money. They want nothing to do with me. Now, did I do something wrong?” questions Henry.

“It’s a wild west out there right now,” says Decarlo.

Decarlo says people are being evicted every day as landlords rush to sell their property.

“Very easily I hear about it 10x a day I’m listening to people’s stories. You have multiple offers going on for rentals and for sales. It’s just a bidding war at all times,” says Decarlo.

Ray thinks that’s why his landlord is trying to push his family out the door.

“I think they’re going to try to raise the rent double,” he says.

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According to RealPage, a real estate data analytics firm, rents in professionally managed apartments rose 10.3% in the third quarter of 2021. While landlords have rights so do renters.

“You have rights to be told when there are intentions to sell the home. You have rights to at least 30 days’ notice,” says Decarlo.

Ray and his family are still in limbo with more court dates ahead of them. As their battle for housing security continues, Ray is staying positive for his kids and doing everything he can to keep a roof over their heads.

“It makes me want to fight back. That’s my job as a parent to protect my kids,” he says.

Decarlo says whether you’re renting or buying, there is still very little inventory in South Florida which is making it difficult for so many families facing eviction. If you’re going through a similar situation, remember you have rights as a renter.

Here are some helpful links where you can learn about those rights.

Landlord/Tenant Law in Florida

Local tenant rights, laws, and protections.

Miami Tenants Union

Community Justice Project

Emergency Rental Program 2.4

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

Emergency rental assistance program in Broward

Helping Floridians Get Back on Their Feet

MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Testing Site Finder

Helping Florida Recover and Rebuild from the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency | Our Florida, for questions about the program, call 833.493.0594, 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Smorgasburg to make Miami debut in Wynwood in March



Smorgasburg to make Miami debut in Wynwood in March
Smorgasburg regularly attracts upwards of 10,000 weekend visitors in New York City.

(Photo credit: Scott Lynch)

Smorgasburg, the largest open air food market in America with locations in New York and Los Angeles, is launching in Miami in the heart of Wynwood, 2612 NW Second Ave., in March.

A play on the Swedish word “smorgasbord,” meaning a wide array of foods, and the location for the market’s debut in Williamsburg, upon opening in 2011, Smorgasburg instantly became a popular destination for New Yorkers regularly drawing upwards of 10,000 weekend visitors in search of a great afternoon of eating, drinking and meeting up with friends.

At the same time, the market served as an affordable starting point for food vendors wanting to test out their concepts for a large audience without the overhead and risk of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Known as the place to go for creative, often groundbreaking food and drink, the concept’s Williamsburg success led to a Los Angeles expansion in 2016, satellite locations in Jersey City and Lower Manhattan and annual pop ups in Sao Paulo and Japan, making Smorgasburg a global phenomenon.

Gaston Becherano Cohen, owner of Omotenashi Group, a collection of hospitality driven enterprises that includes Aventura Gardens Market, Bonsai Café, and Motorcycle Matcha, is the man bringing Smorgasburg to Miami.

His first exposure to the concept was as a vendor in New York, where he launched the first iteration of Bonsai, selling kakigori — hand-cranked Japanese shaved ice. The popularity he experienced with Bonsai at Smorgasburg paved the way for a brick-and-mortar restaurant on the Lower East Side, and that’s the type of opportunity he is interested in extending to Miami’s culinary community. Born in Mexico and raised in Miami, he has spent the past few years getting to know the community and believes the time is ripe for Smorgasburg Miami.

According to Becherano Cohen, “Over the past couple of years, the culinary scene of Miami has evolved at a breakneck pace. There are dozens of new underground food concepts in Miami that are top-class. We are bringing Smorgasburg to Miami to provide the right spotlight and conditions for these vendors to flourish and grow and to build a market that represents the talent and diversity of the South Florida food scene. At its core, Smorgasburg allows vendors to launch their own successful food concept without having to take the risk and undergo the headaches associated with opening up a brick and mortar.”

Smorgasburg Miami will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will occupy prime real estate in the epicenter of Wynwood — adjacent to the Wynwood Walls, the 50,000-square-foot park-like setting will ultimately host 60 food vendors and about 10 interesting retail vendors.

Visitors will enter Smorgasburg on either NW Second Avenue or 26th Street. Vendors will be positioned around the perimeter of the space with central seating comprised of different colored picnic tables. The bar area will have its own seating and be located on the southwest corner of the market.

Representative of Becherano’s philosophy of By Miami, For Miami, the bulk of the vendors will be local with a smattering of some beloved concepts that were hatched in Brooklyn and

LA. Some of the confirmed vendors visitors can expect to see include:

Ted’s Burgers • @teds_burgers (Miami-based)

Drinking Pig BBQ • @drinkingpigbbq (Miami-based)

Sandwiches from Eleventh Street Pizza • @eleventhstreetpizza (Miami-based)

The Sister Yard • @thesisteryard (Miami-based)

El Diner Latino by the team behind La Natural • @eldinerlatino (Miami-based)

The Maiz Project • @themaizproject (Miami-based)

Bona Bona Ice Cream • @bonabonaicecream (NYC-based)

Becherano Cohen has been searching for vendors for the past year and has discovered quite a few concepts that will surprise and delight visitors. Now is the time for local culinary talent interested in being part of Smorgasburg to submit an application here as the market gears up for its March opening — in New York and Los Angeles, thousands of applications from vendors cognizant of the path to success are submitted every year for just a handful of vacancies.

For more information visit,

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Some tips for meeting your New Year’s health goals




Some tips for meeting your New Year’s health goals

When the calendar flipped to 2022, 55 percent of Americans made New Year’s resolutions to improve their health, according to a new UnitedHealthcare survey.

Among those, 26 percent hope to lose weight, 24 percent plan to exercise more, and 21 percent intend to eat a healthier diet. To achieve those goals, Dr. Donna O’Shea, chief medical officer of population health for UnitedHealthcare, offers the following tips:

Get a Digital Fitness App. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted some people to avoid public gyms and the potential risk for exposure to the coronavirus, contributing to a surge in the popularity of at-home fitness routines. In fact, 30 percent of Americans surveyed said they had used a digital fitness app as part of their fitness regimen since COVID-19 emerged.

Look for apps that are available for free with thousands of live and on-demand workouts.

Check with your health plan to see if it includes access to subsidized subscriptions to digital fitness apps, in some cases at no additional cost.

Find a Fitness Tracker. Wearable devices are becoming increasingly popular and sophisticated, enabling people to track their daily steps, monitor their heart rate and analyze sleep patterns among other measures. Some smartwatches even sync with digital fitness apps, offering personalized feedback to help track individual workouts and progress over time.

Some employers and health plans are including fitness trackers as part of wellness programs. In some cases, the programs enable people to earn more than $1,000 a year in incentives by meeting certain daily activity goals, such as walking, running, swimming or strength training.

Pass on Tobacco. Kicking the smoking habit can help support your health — both in the short and long term — while avoiding an estimated $1 million or more in lifetime costs associated with cigarette use. While smoking rates declined over the past few decades, 14 percent of Americans are consistent smokers with cigarette use ranking as the leading cause of preventable death nationwide. For support, many health plans offer smoking cessation programs, which may include — at no additional cost — nicotine gum or patches, online tools and one-on-one coaching.

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Negotiating Lower Group Health Plans




Cynthia Borkoski

Do you understand how your organization’s health plan renewal is calculated? Employers are often confused and left with no explanation when final health plan renewal rates are 5% to 7% lower than the initial proposed renewal.

Frequently, the difference between the initial renewal proposal and the final rates can be attributed to competitive threats. The insurer anticipates that the broker may threaten to market the account to other carriers if the renewal rates are too high. This broker strategy is fundamentally flawed, as the starting point of negotiations are artificially inflated, resulting in discounts that leave a significant amount of excess profit for the insurer in the rates.

A thorough review of a renewal often exposes these areas of concern in renewal pricing, such as when the insurer uses overly conservative medical trends, inconsistent credibility weighting, and inflated claims reserves to generate additional revenue. Additionally, some insurers also inflate their administrative fees by using an inconspicuous mix of Per Member Per Month (PMPM) fees and Per Employee Per Month (PEPM) fees. This can result in fees that are too high if the wrong exposure base is used. These inflations are often unbeknownst to the employer, and serve as hidden revenue streams for the insurer that can easily add thousands of dollars to the renewal if left unchecked during the renewal process.

To protect employees and the bottom line of employers, companies must work with a broker with access to an in-depth understanding of the various financing and plan design tactics insurers utilize to generate profit. This understanding can only come by having a supporting team of underwriters, actuaries, and analysts sitting on their side of the table to advocate on their behalf.

These team members work collaboratively with benefits consultants to review and negotiate health plan renewals. The team starts by first utilizing claims data and underwriting principles to model what a fair renewal should be for a client so then it can be compared to the renewal proposed by the insurer and identifying the differences between them. This information is used to begin negotiations with the carrier, which often leads to an additional 3% to 6% reduction in renewal premium for the employer. This reduction, combined with the rate decreases of 5% to 7% as a result of competitive threats, can lead to final renewals being 8% to 13% lower than the initial proposals.

To help employers understand what is impacting their renewal increases, talk to your advisor about some of the following key components of a renewal workup:

Claims forecast

Hidden profits


Manual rating credibility

Pooling and large claims

This deep-dive analysis demonstrates the areas of inflation within the renewal that provide critical opportunities for negotiation with insurers.

Cynthia Borkoski is a Licensed Employee Benefits Consultant with USI Insurance Services. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and earned her Master’s in Sales Management. Prior to joining USI Cynthia has been consulting businesses for the last 12 years helping business owners and executives with strategies to mitigate risk, increase employee engagement and manage healthcare benefits. For more information, contact your insurance broker or she can be reached at (786) 785-1173 or by email at

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