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ISSUE

Office for New Floridians

As Governor, Crist Will Create State Office for New Floridians

More than 900 people move to Florida every day. That’s nearly 330,000 new Floridians every year, and we want to welcome them with open arms. Between 2010 and 2020, Florida’s population grew by 2.7 million residents or 14.6 percent, double the nation’s overall population growth. More than 20 percent of our residents were born in another country.

Sometimes our new neighbors need assistance navigating their new home—and the Office for New Floridians will cut red tape, reduce bureaucracy, and provide essential information and services to ensure every New Floridian can make a successful transition.

New Floridians are an essential part of the economy of our state. They buy houses, open new businesses, send their children to school and help improve our communities. As governor, Charlie Crist will make sure our new neighbors get essential assistance to make a successful transition — regardless of whether they’re moving to Florida from another state or another country.

The Crist administration will establish a new office to accomplish this: the Office for New Floridians.

It can be hard to move to a new state and sort out which government office can help you obtain a driver’s license and change your motor vehicle registration, seek a professional license to pursue a particular career, or obtain the proper local licenses and permits to open a new business. You might need help finding a job, finding the right school for your children, learning how to save money for college, or accessing social services available in your neighborhood that can help with the move and transition. This will provide one stop for new residents seeking help as they put down roots in the Sunshine State.

  • New Floridians Hotline: The Office for New Floridians will offer a hotline in several languages whereNewFloridians can get answers to common questions that cut through red tape and help them make a successful transition. The Hotline will offer answers to questions such as obtaining a drivers’ license, immigration status, job training programs, legal aid programs, and rental assistance. Calls will be confidential.
  • Opportunity Centers: The Office for New Floridians will sponsor existing community organizations to offer wrap-around transition services for new Floridians. Community organizations are the closest to the need, and ONF will provide grants and other resources to them.
  • Resources Hub: The Office for New Floridians will set up a directory for accessing and navigating a variety of free services throughout the state.
  • Hub for Skilled Professional Services: Too often, professional and trade certifications do not easily transfer across state or national borders. The Office for New Floridians will establish a smooth process by which skilled professionals and trade workers (such as cosmetology, barbering, engineering, real estate, contracting, or construction) can transfer existing certifications to Florida while learning any necessary new skills quickly.
  • Digital Hub: The Office for New Floridians will create a digital hub that will be open around the clock and available to everyone: WelcometoFIorida.gov. It will be available in multiple languages, with information specific to your community.

Florida currently does not make it easy enough to become a New Floridian. Paperwork, red tape, and bureaucracy create burdens that are too high and prevent New Floridians from making a smooth and quick transition. By focusing on solving this problem, we will grow our economy, create jobs, and put power in the people’s hands. Whether a New Floridian is coming from Boston or Bogata, the Office for New Floridians will ensure Florida is the most welcoming state in the union for new residents.