ATTACKING HOMELESSNESS THE WRONG WAY

On the heels of my first homeless count in Tarrant County, I heard about this story out of Tampa, Florida.

This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in a while and I had to share (article from St. Petersburg Times):

TAMPA — As counties statewide prepare for their annual homeless count, Hillsborough will wait another month.

Too cold? Too many transients?

Actually, homeless advocates fear police will arrest so many homeless to clear the streets for the Super Bowl that any count would be inaccurate.

“It’s happened during other big events when there are a lot of out-of-town visitors,” said Rayme Nuckles, chief executive officer of the county’s Homeless Coalition. “But we know it’s occurring now because some of our providers heard from a (police) captain at a meeting that they were arresting homeless people and holding them in jail.”

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said there is no such mandate.

“Our primary mission is the safety of our visitors,” she said. “So the homeless wouldn’t rank high on that. We arrest people for breaking the law, not for being homeless.”

But Nuckles said the plan to aggressively jail homeless people on charges such as loitering and trespassing “came straight from a captain’s mouth” at a meeting. He was not at the meeting, he said, but heard about it from others, including Sara Romeo, executive director of Tampa Crossroads, a homeless advocacy group.

Shannon Moriarty, a homelessness blogger for change.org, attacked the city’s alleged “clean-up.” You can read her thoughts by clicking here. She writes a terrific blog, shedding light on this epidemic across the country.

BTW: More to come on the Tarrant County Homeless Count and the Rally sponsored by e-Partners in Giving.
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