Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Two campouts in Brandon will help homeless youths

Every day in Hillsborough County thousands of men, women and children go without a home. After sunset, some take shelter in cars or under overpasses. Others sleep in parking lots or on sidewalks.

About 18,000 homeless people reside in the area, according to the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, with about a quarter of those being children.

In an effort to spread awareness, two area organizations will host events for people to experience simulated homelessness.

On Saturday, Family Promise of Greater Brandon will host Box Car City at Nativity Catholic Church in Valrico. Participants will stay overnight in cardboard boxes or in their vehicles. The event will include live music, box and car decorating contests and fellowship. The cost is $20 for box campers, $50 per car. Proceeds will go to Family Promise, an organization of local Christian churches driven to help children and families escape homelessness and poverty.

"What many people don't realize is there are a large number of families here that need our help," said Bonnie Ussery, director of pastoral care for Nativity. "There are close to 4,000 homeless children within Hillsborough County public schools. People are facing major challenges, especially in the eastern part of the county."

Teens and young adults interested in helping homeless youths are also invited to participate in 24 Hours, an annual event presented by the Little Red Wagon Foundation and its founder, 16-year-old homeless advocate Zach Bonner.

The event, open to individuals ages 12 to 21, will take place from noon April 11 to noon April 12 at the Brandon Best Buy. Participants will sleep in boxes outside the store. While there, they will make backpacks to distribute to homeless teens and hear from speakers affected by homelessness.

"The idea is to give participants just a small taste of what homeless youth go through on a daily basis, to shed light on the problem and hopefully inspire them to be part of the solution," Bonner said.

Judges that will pick the top three decorated boxes, and gift cards will be awarded.

Bonner said that many factors contribute to youth homelessness, including economic hardships and family problems. Most teens living on the streets are runaways. As many as 40 percent are gay, bisexual or transgender, he said.

Bonner, who hosted the first 24 Hours event six years ago, said he expects 50 to 100 participants this year. In years past, people from throughout the state attended.

"At the beginning of the event we have everyone form a circle and tell why they are there," he said. "There is always a handful who say their parents made them or it's for community service hours, but at the end every single person has said that because of participating in the event they have a passion for youth homelessness."

Comments
St. Pete police presence at MLK Day after-party raises concerns

St. Pete police presence at MLK Day after-party raises concerns

ST. PETERSBURG— Several people have complained about police patrols around the celebration in Midtown that follows the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, questioning whether a robust law enforcement presence this year was racially m...
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Updated: 26 minutes ago
Record-breaking cold sends arctic blast through Tampa Bay

Record-breaking cold sends arctic blast through Tampa Bay

It was record-breaking cold this morning as a deep freeze cast over Tampa Bay.Wind-chill advisories are out as feels-like temperatures sit between a bitter 20 and 30 degrees.Tampa tied its recorded for the lowest temperature of 29 degrees on Jan. 18,...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Goodman: We can no longer be silent about immigration reform

Goodman: We can no longer be silent about immigration reform

It is one of those times when we won’t have to wait for the judgment of history to learn the verdict of history.More than 800,000 DACA immigrants now sit, stew and wonder if the land they long yearned for is the great nation they long dreamt about.Th...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Clearwater Police are searching for a "man-bun bandit" who is seen stealing packages from a residence.Police on Thursday tweeted this video of the suspect, who is seen attempting to balance multiple packages while gathering them at a home on Majestic...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay area doesn’t make cut as Amazon second headquarter finalist

Tampa Bay area doesn’t make cut as Amazon second headquarter finalist

To no one’s surprise, Amazon on Thursday released its list of location finalists for its second headquarters, and neither Tampa nor St. Petersburg was on it."We knew it was going to be a long shot and a difficult road," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said....
Updated: 2 hours ago

As temperatures fall and rise, Tampa braces for another round of water main breaks

TAMPA — This week’s cold snap is expected to keep the city of Tampa’s utility crews busy over the next few days.The city is bracing for another spike in water main breaks as temperatures climb from this morning’s near record lows and another round of...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Joe Henderson: Leaders can’t job-out responsibility for bad substitute teachers

Joe Henderson: Leaders can’t job-out responsibility for bad substitute teachers

Sometimes, people in authority need a reality check before they can recognize a problem that should have been obvious.In this case, it took a meticulously reported story last Sunday by education writer Marlene Sokol of the Tampa Bay Times to alert Hi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Family recalls troubled youth for teen killer, now 39, who seeks new sentence

Family recalls troubled youth for teen killer, now 39, who seeks new sentence

TAMPA — The bearded man with shackled hands sat slumped and weeping as he listened to witness after witness — his mom, aunt and sister among them — recount his childhood of poverty, abuse, and depression.Kyle Moran leaned forward occasionally, stretc...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Winter weather deaths climb to 15 as the South cleans up snow

Winter weather deaths climb to 15 as the South cleans up snow

The deep freeze that shut down much of the South began to relent Thursday as crews salted and cleared roads after a slow-moving storm left ice and snow in places that usually enjoy mild winters. At least 15 people were killed in accidents and frigid ...
Updated: 2 hours ago