THE COMMISSIONERS SAID NO TO TENTS AND SHEDS LAST TIME. WHAT WILL THEY DO THIS TIME???
On October 13th, 2009 the Board of County Commissioners sent Catholic Charities packing and said "NO" to 250 tents and sheds for homeless adults, addicts, alcoholics and criminals.
BUT, Catholic Charities recently told the local press (1/1/10) that they will "come back with a plan to create a homeless camp" and have "been busy revamping" a proposal for the property at 6410 E Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa 33610.
THE TIME HAS COME: WRITE A LETTER to our Commissioners. Let them know that the homeless deserve better and we will not partner with Catholic Charities. They lied the first time and will probably do it again! They are either unwilling or unable to be a part of the solution to our homeless problem!
Now we must start working on real solutions to solve our homeless problem in Hillsborough County. This is the best way to insure that Catholic Charities or another group like them doesn't come knocking again with tents.
Pinellas Tent City is a miserable failure and NOT a solution for Hillsborough or anywhere else; Over $2.5 million for only a 16% success rate??!?? Where is the voice of reason in Pinellas County?
Commissioners Ken Hagan, Mark Sharpe, Al Higginbotham & Kevin White gave thoughtful consideration to the tent city rezoning proposal and said NO to tents. They understand the needs of the residents of our community, and of the homeless in Hillsborough County. We look forward to working with all of our County Commissioners on a real solution to our homeless problem!
DID YOU KNOW that virtually every homeless service in Hillsborough County is opposed to the use of tents for the homeless? Did you know that the Hillsborough County Homeless Coalition is also opposed to tents? So why do several of the Hillsborough County Commissioners favor putting human beings in tents???
DID YOU KNOW that only 16% of Pinellas Tent City residents were still in housing six months after discharge, whereas most homeless services' success rate is over 40%?
DID YOU KNOW that, during its first 20 months of operation, Pinellas Tent City received over $2.5 million, but their 990 IRS form claims that it only cost them $1 million per year to house 250 people in tents?? Where's the rest of the money??? What? Only 16% for $2.5 million??!??
DID YOU KNOW that Catholic Charities told the Hillsborough County Homeless Coalition, its members, and MAYOR IORIO that they would not use tents in Hillsborough County to house the homeless but are trying to do that very thing?? To say that Catholic Charities misrepresented themselves to our local homeless services and charities is an understatement!
DID YOU KNOW that the homeless population in Pinellas County has increased by 20% since opening Pinellas Tent City, but the homeless population in Hillsborough County has decreased by almost 10% over the last 4 years?
DID YOU KNOW that the number of homeless women and children in Pinellas has increased by more than 30%, but local goverments are pouring tax dollars into tents for chronically homeless adults? What a travesty!
DID YOU KNOW that 42% of the Pinellas Tent City residents are not even residents of Pinellas County?
DID YOU KNOW that there have been 78 incidents/criminal offenses reported at Pinellas Tent City since it opened 20 months ago? They include domestic violence by choking, sexual battery (rape), aggravated assault (with a knife), battery, burglary, medication theft, drunken brawls, Baker Act, innapropriate internet communication (chat room) with a 14 yr old girl, panhandling, solicitation (for sex), etc. To see the Pinellas County Sheriff's Dept. Summary of these offenses, click here.
DID YOU KNOW that out of the 78 incidents/criminal offenses reported at Pinellas Tent City, 76 residents involved in those incidents have more than 775 criminal charges, including second degree murder, grand theft auto, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery, burglary, elder abuse and child abuse?
Catholic Charities, The Diocese of St. Petersburg operates a "tent city" in Pinellas County for 250 chronic homeless adults. Despite the fact that the largest growing segment of the homeless population in Pinellas County is women and children, they are still pumping the majority of their tax dollars into tents for adults! Unfortunately, some non-profits are all about the money and not the charitable cause of helping others.
This is NOT a facility for children or families - it is for ADULTS ONLY, and most are adult males that have violent criminal convictions, drug addictions and multiple diagnosis mental illness.
In the below video, Commissioner Rose Ferlita dictates from her "throne" to the kindergarten class. We must continue to watch her closely as we believe she engaged in improper exparte communications with Catholic Charities and the Diocese during the first rezoning proceeding. She appears to be personally interested in the success of Catholic Charities' efforts to put human beings in tents!
Politics as usual in Hillsborough County is OVER! Our local government is finally waking up! We hope they will join us and become a part of the solution to end homelessness. And, as we all know, tents are NOT part of the solution!
Pinellas Hope "is not going to solve the problem" - Frank Murphy, Catholic Charities President
Referring to puting a tent city in Hillsborough County... "All that's going to do is turn the local community and the community at large of Hillsborough County against the homeless. It hurts our cause. It doesn't help us." - Rev. Cory Crocker of Covenant House
"About half of those who come are unable to overcome their problems and end up back on the street." - Frank Murphy, President of Catholic Charities. In reality, 84% end up back on the street according to USF's most recent study!!
"....for organizations to effectively serve homeless people, nearby homeowners must feel safe and positive enough to buy into the programs." Maj. Patterson, Salvation Army
"Study after study and program after program have proven that housing is the right answer. In fact, several studies have shown that providing permanent supportive housing to the chronically homeless – the population most likely to stay homeless even after the recession - not only gets these homeless people safely off the streets, but turns out to be more cost-effective for taxpayers." From a blogpost regarding an article about tent cities; Catherine An, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Blog Author.
When pushed by County Commissioners to use a portion of the 100+ acre site of a former Catholic School for the proposed tents for chronically homeless adults, Frank Murphy responded, "That is an active site of a church where there are children and there are activities committed to the property." WHAT ABOUT OUR CHILDREN?!? See the video here: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/local/hillsborough/tent_city_vote_081109
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments, or want to become a part of the solution to help end homelessness in Hillsborough County.