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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What's in a name?



CLEARWATER -- Every homeless shelter needs a comforting, uplifting name, so Pinellas officials kicked around several options before Thursday’s opening.

At first they dubbed it “Harbor of Hope,” says Public Defender Bob Dillinger. But someone thought people might confuse that name with Pinellas Hope, a tent city just to the south run by the Catholic Diocese.

Then “Pinellas Harbor’’ became the moniker in waiting until someone raised a possible conflict with Harbor Behavioral Health Center in New Port Richey, a mental health facility.

The third iteration seemed to stick. “Pinellas Safe Harbor,” or just “Safe Harbor” appeared on official announcements, public presentations and in print — to which one Pinellas municipality separated by just a “t” and a “y” had this to say: “Ahem.”

“Based on input from multiple residents, I called Bob Dillinger and Bill Foster and voiced my concern in a friendly fashion,’’ Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold said Thursday. “Some people in our city did not like this usage, referring to a homeless shelter.’’

Safety Harbor, a town of 18,000, has two homeless people as far as Steingold knows. Residents “have big hearts’’ and help with money, clothing and food, he said. And the city commission plans to vote soon to make a monetary contribution to the jail annex project.

But about that name ....

Dillinger and Foster gave him reassurances, Steingold said, and he is satisfied things will work out.
No matter what the official name might say, he said, “there is great likelihood the facility will be referred to as “The Harbor.”

[Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 11:38am]


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