Community Assessment Little Haiti

CommunityAssessment: Little Haiti

LittleHaiti, is a neighborhood found in Miami, Florida. Previously known asLemon City, the neighborhood is considered to be the cultural hub forHaitian immigrants living in this area of the United States. Thelocale was renamed to Little Haiti after a spirited fight by ViterJuste, a Haitian community leader. Viter’s struggles with theMiami-Dade Haitian district gave birth to the name Little Haiti inreference to the Haitian domination of the area. The name wasoriginally “Little Port-au-Prince” but it was shortened to LittleHaiti by the editors of a local magazine called Miami Herald whofound the original name to be too long (Zephir, 2004). This paperseeks to provide an assessment of the Little Haiti community.


LittleRiver creates a natural boundary on the northern side of LittleHaiti. The physical boundaries that demarcate Little Haiti areInterstate 95, NW 79thStreet, Northern Miami Avenue, Northeast 4thCourt, Biscayne Blvd and Florida 112. Little Haiti is an opencommunity. The area mainly consists of residential blocks,commercial and government premises. Most of the houses in the zoneare several decades old, made of concrete using old architecturaldesigns. The majority of them are poorly maintained with washed outpaint and worn out walls. The homes have a small front and back yardsand tinted windows. Most of them show signs of aging and decay andpollution. In most residential blocks, there are no air conditioningsystems. Apartment complexes and duplexes are the most common form ofhousing blocks. Most of the walls in the community areas are filledwith artistic graffiti paintings. Unattended litter is a common sighton almost every street. Little Haiti has several recreational areas.These include children parks and jungle gyms that operate all daylong. What is consciously missing is a community swimming pool forswimming lessons and leisure.

Hangout areas and open spaces are not very common in Little Haiti.However, the area has many trees and sidewalks that are illuminatedby light from adjacent houses at night. During the day, there aremany people in the streets. Majority of this populace are Blacksdressed in casual attires and a few Hispanics. Bus stops for users ofpublic transport such as metro buses are present in every corner ofthe area. The Metro buses operate all day and night at a cost of$2.25. They arrive at the designated stops every 15 minutes onweekdays and every 45 minutes on weekends. A variety of automobilesroam the roads of Little Haiti. They include high-end Toyotas andHondas. There is substantial traffic jam in the area, especially onInterstate 95.

Theroads in Little Haiti are not in the best of states. Most of them arelittered with potholes although a few have been repaired. On thelower border of the boundaries near Florida 112 lies Miami Urgentcare that also doubles up as a rehabilitation center. Other healthfacilities are Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of MiamiHospital that are located roughly 5 miles from the heart of the city.Local supermarkets and food outlets dominate Little Haiti. There are23 food markets in this neighborhood. For security purposes, policepresence is evident throughout the city. The Northern Side PoliceStation secures the area. However, Water treatment plants and firefighting bases are not seen in the area.

Onmatters of spirituality, the predominant religion in Little Haiti isBaptist of African Methodist Episcopal. The area has 22 religiouscenters ranging from Protestant churches to ministries. The area hasten schools and five libraries in the neighborhood. 99 cent stores,coin laundry shops, and street markets litter the streets of LittleHaiti. Most residents have to walk three to four miles to get goodsand services from these outlets. Fresh fruits and vegetables areobtainable in the area supermarkets and street markets. Doctor’soffices, banks, and daycares are available in the community. Anadequate number of pharmacies and gas stations are present too.


LittleHaiti covers a geographical area of 8.95km2with a population density of 3,840 people per square kilometer. Theelevation of the neighborhood is 7ft. The area receives the largestshare of low-class immigrants from Haiti, who settle here forstabilizing their lives before they can move to other areas of thecity. The neighborhood is ten blocks in width. Miami Avenue andSecond Avenue are the two major roads that cross the town. The inflowof foreign investors has created rejuvenation in the area,characterized by the renovation of properties and construction of newones.

Healthand Social Services

Accessto health care services is one of the key aspects of healthcaresector that comes to light when assessing the needs of the LittleHaiti community. The health care situation in this area wants to alarge extent. Studies conducted on this matter show that most of theresidents of this part of Miami are not even aware of the healthcenters that provide medical services in their locale (Maurer &ampSmith, 2013). In extreme cases, some of the residents are not evenaware of the existence of any health center that they can visit incase they need urgent medical attention.

Mortalityand birth rates is an important indicator of the health status of anycommunity. The 2014 birth rate for Little Haiti was 12.2 children per1000 people. In the same year, the death rate was 6.01 per 1000 ofthe population. The heart diseases have been identified as theleading cause of death in Little Haiti. A 2011 report on the killerdiseases in the area showed that cardiovascular diseases are theleading killer. At that time, heart diseases in Little Haiti caused12 deaths in every 100,000 people. This figure was significantlyhigher than Florida state figure of 10 deaths per 100,000 of thepopulation.

Asmentioned earlier, most dwellers of Little Haiti hardly seek medicalservices. Several factors create this situation. The leading reasonLittle Haiti dwellers do not seek medical care when they need it isthe lack of insurance and money. Surveys conducted show that lack ofinsurance and money is the primary reason Little Haiti residents shyaway from seeking medical services even when it is necessary.Respondents during one such survey told the researchers that they donot go health centers since the medical staff they cannot attend tothem if they do not have the money or an insurance cover.

Apartfrom the lack of insurance, the quality of services at health andsocial centers is the other health challenge facing the residents ofLittle Haiti. Either from a personal experience or hearsay, longwaiting times at medical and social centers was cited by manyresidents of this area as the reason they avoid visiting such centerswhenever they need medical care (Rose, 2013). Jackson MemorialHospital was mentioned by many residents on this matter. In extremecases, patients who visited the hospital at times had to wait a wholenight before they were attended to. Such experiences act a hindranceto accessing medical services by the area residents. At times, theyleave the next morning without getting attended to at all.

Thepoor quality of services in the health and social centers in LittleHaiti coupled with the lack of insurance or money has forced manydwellers of the area to seek alternative health care options. Overthe counter drugs and herbal medicines are for the most part used inthe area. This creates another health challenge. Most people abuseover the counter drugs. In other cases, the herbal medicineadministered to patients is unhygienic, posing a health hazard to itsusers. When patients use such herbs, their health is affectednegatively, worsening the already bad health situation in the area.At times, some Haitians even travel back to their home country sinceit is easier to get health services there (Lowe, 2006).

Limitedaccess to health services is directed linked to the financial statusof the residents of Little Haiti. As earlier mentioned, most of thepeople residing in this area do not have medical cover. One of themajor reasons why they do not have insurance is a lack of financialpower. While most of the employers in this are offer health insuranceplans for their employees, many employees cannot afford thedeductions that come with the insurance. As a result, most of themchoose to decline the insurance plans offered by their employerssince they cannot afford to pay the deductions.

Whenexploring the health and social attributes of Little Haiti, theirculture comes to light. Little Haiti is the place where the culturalbond of in the United States is kept alive. Haitians living in thislocale have a profound belief in their culture, traditions andcustoms of their homeland (Rey, 2013). They have not forsaken theirproverbs, holidays, and cuisines. Most Haitians dwelling here believein the use of supernatural powers in treating some diseases that theybelieve are caused by angry spirits. Families and relatives arehighly valued. Most leisure time is spent with families and friendswho are hospitable and receptive towards each other. The family isthe key medium of socialization that is used to keep the people’sculture alive through generations. Apart from English, French andCreole are the major languages used here. Traces of Haitian cultureare also evident in other activities like weddings, burials, andgreetings.


Onmatters of economics, Little Haiti is ranked as one of the poorestzones of the Miami-Dade County. The majority of Little Haitihouseholdssurvive on incomes below $10,000, and more that 40% live below thepoverty line. The per capita income is $5,693 coupled with a medianhousehold income of $14,142. A report by the American communitysurvey for the 2009 to 2013 period stated that 47% of the dwellers ofLittle Haiti lived below the poverty line. In this group, the mostaffected were children below the age of 18 years. 64.6% of thechildren in this age group lived in poverty at the time of the study.This is a huge figure compared to the 40% of adults aged over 65years who live in poverty (Zephie, 2004). When divided into sevenincome groups, the economic disparities of Little Haiti residentscome to light. With the lowest median at $10,180 and the highest at$36,819, the economic status of Little Haiti is widely divided, withmost of the population and the lowest side of the incomes scale.

Safetyand Transportation

Transportationis one of the critical features of any residential area. Safe andreliable modes of transport facilitate good movement of people,goods, and services enabling economic development and otheractivities. In Little Haiti, vehicles are the key mode of transportfor most people commuting to work or moving around for other purposes(Rey, 2013). The basic modes of transportation to work for mostLittle Haiti residents are cars, trucks or vans. 59% of the residentsuse these vehicles as their chief mode of transportation. Publictransportation is the next most preferred mode of transport. Roughly25% of Little Haiti residents use public transport. The number fpeople who walk to work or use taxis, motorcycles and bicycles takeup the smallest share of the transport methods in the area at 2% and1.6% respectively. The largest portion of Little Haiti dwellers usesbetween 20 to 30 minutes to arrive at their places of work.

Onsafety, Little Haiti is documented to have the highest rates ofrobbery among the counties in Miami city. In most categorizations ofcrime such as murder, motor theft and burglary, Little Haiti’srates are comparable to those of Miami. However, in all categories ofcrime, Little Haiti has rates that are higher than the national rates(Fordyce &amp Maraesa, 2012). Data presented to researchers by theMiami-Dade County Juvenile Service department shows that a total of529 charges were brought to the authorities in 2014. Out of these,aggravated assault and petty theft were the most common crimes.

Securityaside, environmental safety is another key characteristic to LittleHaiti that should be documented. Climate change has greatly affectedthis area. Previously rare occurrences such as floods now sweep theneighborhood even twice a day during the rainy season, causing muchhavoc for the area residents. Hurricanes are the biggest weatherthreat in this locale, with a risk figure that is almost seven timesthe national figure. Domestic and commercial waste that litters thearea is an environmental hazard. Even recreational areas such asparks are polluted with various kinds of waste ranging from plasticbags to old electronic devices.

Politicsand Government

LittleHaiti is one of the counties under the city of Miami, the state ofFlorida. Consequently, Little Haiti falls under the governancestructure of the city of Miami. Keon Hardemon is the Commissioner ofthe city of Miami. The Commissioner of Miami_-Dade County whereLittle House is located is Audrey Edmonson. The House ofRepresentatives has Daphne Campbell and Cynthia Stafford. In theState Senate, this neighborhood is represented by Larcenia Bullardand Oscar Braynon.

Onmatters of governance, Haitian-Americans, being the prominentresidents of the area are represented in both the local and statelevels of government. Over time, local advocates have acquirednational attention to being on the frontline in campaigning for therights of Haitians (Zephir, 2004). One of their most important goalsis to accomplish equality for Haitians in the utilization of theavailable resources and service in the ear. Neighborhood-basedorganizations and social service agencies are at the center of socialservices that are sensitive to the people’s culture and language.


Residentsof Little Haiti get the most of their information from mass media,mainly radio, and television. Creole Language Radio and Televisionare the most trusted source of information for people living in thisneighborhood. Like everyone else, Little Haiti residents have alsobeen swept by the technology wind. Most youths and teenagers in thearea have a phone that they use to communicate with their friends(Maurer &amp Smith, 2013). Such phones are also used to access theinternet for purposes of education, entertainment or socializationthrough social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In poorhouseholds that cannot afford to buy mobile phones, landlines are themain mode of long distance communication.

Massmedia and technology have not killed the age old traditional mode ofcommunication in Little Haiti. Word of mouth is the primary mode ofcommunication in households, schools, churches and other socialplaces that people meet. Social places like churches and recreationalareas are also used to pass important communications. Posters andbillboards are pinned to communicate different things, mostly events,and commercial adverts.


Thepublic schools in Little Haiti are operated by Miami-Dade CountyPublic Schools. Due to the current shift of the area residents toother areas, the school enrollment rate has gone down from the peakit was in the 1980s to about 50% (Zephir, 2004). The schools found inthis locale are Design &amp Architecture Senior High School, MiamiEdison Middle Schools, Jesses J. Mccrary Jr Elementary School and Shadowlawn Elementary School. The others are Miami Edison Senior HighSchool, Edison Park K-8 Center, Toussaint L’Ouverture ElementarySchool, Ebenezer Christain Academy, St Mary’s Cathedral andArchbishop Curley Notre Dame High School. Design &amp ArchitectureSenior High School is ranked as the best school in the area by theGreatschools ranking system.

Tosupport the schools in the area and other education needs, there areseveral public libraries in the area including Lemon City and Edisoncenter libraries. A survey covering the education situation of LittleHaiti between 2009 and 2013 reported that 64% of residents aged over25 years had acquired high school education. What’s more, 16% ofpeople in this group had a bachelor’s degree. These figures showthat on matters of education, Little Haiti is not fairing too badly.However, on the flip side, in the 2009 – 2013 period, roughly 36% ofLittle Haiti residents did not complete their high school education.


LittleHaiti has several resources that can play a big part in addressingthe issues facing the community. One of the greatest resources inthis neighborhood is its rich culture. Given that majority of thearea are either Haitian or Haitian-American, Little is one of themost popular tourist destinations in Miami. The neighborhood isregarded as the cultural heart of the Haitians living in the UnitedStates. When they visit the locale, visitors and tourists can viewart galleries, Haitian books, and music. Another big attraction isthe Little Haiti Cultural Center. This facility hosts dance and dramaperformances by the local, rich in Haitian content. The center isfrequently visited by tourists who explore Little Haiti.

Otherresources that Little Haiti has include education and work ethics.Haitians have a reputation for being very hardworking and industriouspeople. They can do menial tasks for long hours despite travelingdistances to their place of work. Their hardworking spirit combinedwith their entrepreneurial spirit gives them the potential to startand sustain successful business ventures. Education has also giventhe Little Haiti community a big boost in the employment sector. Newentrants from Haiti with skills in medicine, law, and business, arevital human resources that can help area develop in all aspects(Wiseman, 2010).

Socialresources are another feature of the Little Haiti community.Spirituality is a crucial aspect of a well-functioning society.Haitians are very religious people and in Little Haiti, the situationis not any different. The area has over twenty religious centers. Thechurches, on top of providing spiritual nutrition of the residents,also act as meeting places. When people meet in such places, they canshare ideas on how to better their lives and their society as a whole(Lowe, 2006). The extended family support system is anothersignificant resource in Little Haiti. This system provides continuoussocial support through sharing of ideas, experiences and resources.

Strengthand Weakness in Little Haiti Community Nursing Diagnosis and Plan

Asdiscussed earlier, the health needs of the Little Haiti communitymainly revolve around barriers that impede access to health care bythe area residents. The primary barriers are financial because mostof the area residents cannot afford to cater for their health careneeds. These financial barriers include lack of money, lack ofmedical insurance cover and unemployment (Maurer &amp Smith, 2013).The secondary categories of barriers are structural. They consist ofthe long distances between health facilities and residential areas,long waiting times before getting medical care and tiresomeprocedures before and after treatment. Lastly, the tertiary barriersinclude traditional practices that discourage modern medical care andprevious experiences that make patients hate going to hospitals.

TheLittle Haiti Community Nursing Diagnosis and Plan seeks to remedythis situation in an attempt to achieve 100% medical care for allresidents of the neighborhood. The plan aims to achieve this byattaining the set goals within the target time. The first goal iscoverage for all. This goal aims at creating and sustainingcomprehensive medical coverage for the dwellers of Little Haiti. Thesecond goal is to eliminate the barrier of non-insurance, enablinguninsured people to get access to healthcare services unlike before.The third goal is training and outreach to enable interaction andcooperation between all players in the healthcare sector in the area.Lastly, the final goal of the plan is to streamline policies tofacilitate continuous quality of the quality health care that willcome as a result of the scheme.

TheHaiti Community Nursing Diagnosis and Plan is a useful interventionthat can bring the desired changes in Little Haiti in matters ofhealth care. The plan has some strengths and weaknesses. One of thestrengths is that it seeks to eliminate one of the main barriers toaccess to health services in Little Haiti, namely the lack ofinsurance (Lowe, 2006). By coming up with ways of ensuring thatuninsured residents get access to health care, the plan will trimdown the number of patients who avoid visiting health facilitiesbecause they lack insurance.

Theother strength of the plan is that it seeks to devise mechanisms forensuring sustainability of the scheme. This measure will ensure thatthe gains made by the program are not temporary. In this way, theplan, if effectively implemented, will bring long-lasting positivechanges in the health sector in Little Haiti. A successfulintervention plan in any situation is one that makes the necessarycorrections to remedy the current problem while still ensuring thatthe changes made last long enough to prevent the reoccurrence of theproblem in future. The Haiti Community Nursing Diagnosis and Planseek to do exactly this.

Onthe flipside, the biggest weakness of the problem is that it does notaddress the key underlying problem. The primary barrier to access tohealth services in Little Haiti is a lack of insurance and money.Lack of insurance is also directly attributed to lack of many. Mostresidents of Little Haiti do not have money to pay for theirtreatment or pay medical insurance premiums since they areeconomically strained (Maurer &amp Smith, 2013). Therefore, the bestmedical plan for Little Haiti is one that will address the underlyingproblem of financial incapability. Empowering the residents so thatthey can afford to buy insurance and pay for medical care would be amore efficient approach considering the situation in Little Haiti.


LittleHaiti faces a myriad of financial and health needs that need to beaddressed to improve the health status of the area residents. Thebiggest challenge that comes to light in the Little Haiti situationis access to health services. Due to financial constraints and otherfactors such as culture, many dwellers of Little Haiti are unable toaccess health services. Despite being a proper intervention, theHaiti Community Nursing Diagnosis and Plan does not seem capable ofeffectively rectifying the situation at hand. The goals of the planare correct and well intended, but they do not cover the biggestloophole in the Little Haiti health crisis, namely financialincapability. Most residents of this neighborhood cannot afford tobuy insurance or pay for medical services. Therefore, even if thehealth services in the area are improved, many will still not be in aposition to afford the care. This is a situation that the leaders ofthe region and other stakeholders should give a thought as they formand implement futures health care plans.


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