Saturday, July 21, 2018
News Roundup

Hillsborough could get homeless shelter

TAMPA — There is one stark difference between how Tampa Bay's two most populous counties address their homeless problems: Pinellas has a publicly funded homeless shelter. Hillsborough doesn't.

That may change soon.

A former work-release center near the Hillsborough County Orient Road Jail, east of Tampa, could be converted into a homeless shelter for up to 175 people, County Administrator Mike Merrill told county commissioners Thursday. Sheriff David Gee called Merrill last week and suggested the new use for the building.

Merrill mentioned the possible shelter as part of a discussion about Hillsborough's homeless. Commissioners on Thursday approved the first step in Merrill's plan to revamp the county's temporary shelter program — a $1.18 million contract with Tampa-based nonprofit Metropolitan Ministries to provide emergency housing for homeless families and women.

The county is in the process of outsourcing the services formerly offered by its troubled Homeless Recovery program — which closed Dec. 31 — to local nonprofits. A series of Tampa Bay Times articles last year highlighted how Homeless Recovery sent the poor to live in dilapidated, hazardous housing.

In the face of criticism from commissioners Thursday, Merrill said he's acting as fast as he can.

"We're trying to rebuild a system that has been broken for a number of years," he said. "It doesn't get done overnight."

The proposed homeless shelter would be at 1800 Orient Road, across the street from the jail. The Sheriff's Office uses part of the building as office space, said agency spokesman Larry McKinnon, but most of it has been unused since 2009.

One of the nonprofits taking over county homeless services would probably run the shelter, Merrill said. The county is negotiating contracts with the Salvation Army, which would help single men, women and some families, and the Agency for Community Treatment Services, or ACTS, which would help homeless people with mental health or substance abuse problems.

Details like cost and a timeline are unclear, but Merrill expects to use the building as a shelter.

In Pinellas County, homeless men and women can stay at Pinellas Safe Harbor, a 470-person capacity shelter run by the Sheriff's Office there and funded by the county and some cities.

"We have a deficit in housing options," Merrill said. "It really is key to get people off the streets."

Commissioners had no problems with the proposed shelter.

"We've really never committed enough significant resources to (homelessness)," said Commissioner Kevin Beckner. "We need to get this issue solved."

The long-term goal, Merrill told commissioners, is to be like St. Louis. Merrill visited the city with others last week on the recommendation of Philip Mangano, former national "homelessness czar" under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and met with management of their homeless services.

Hillsborough homeless advocates have been consulting Mangano, who suggested the St. Louis trip.

That city's system — run by nonprofits, but managed and funded by government and business — requires collaboration that doesn't exist in Hillsborough, Merrill said. But that doesn't mean it can't.

"You look back nine years ago," he said of St. Louis, "and they look a lot like us today."

Will Hobson can be reached at (813) 226-3400 or [email protected]

Comments
Bucs training camp questions: How to split the QB reps, position battles and more

Bucs training camp questions: How to split the QB reps, position battles and more

TAMPA — Jameis Winston would like to move forward with his career now that he has accepted the NFL's decision to suspend him three games and apologized — for something — to the Uber driver that the league says he touched in an "inap...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Carlton: Victorious Ybor chickens make Tampa Tampa

Carlton: Victorious Ybor chickens make Tampa Tampa

A city can be judged on its progress by, say, having sleek rail that gets people where they need to go. Or by being home to big-name corporations or impressive sports venues. Or by the sheer number of tall buildings it boasts.At least for today, you ...
Published: 07/21/18
Open office plans are as bad as you thought

Open office plans are as bad as you thought

A cubicle-free workplace without private offices is supposed to force employees to collaborate. To have them talk more face-to-face. To get them off instant messenger and spontaneously brainstroming about new ideas.But a recent study by two researche...
Published: 07/21/18
Police identify man killed in shooting at South Tampa McDonald’s

Police identify man killed in shooting at South Tampa McDonald’s

TAMPA — A man died early Saturday after he was shot Friday night in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in South Tampa.Nicholas A. Mortazavi, 20, was pronounced dead about 3:30 a.m., police said.Police responded to the restaurant at 3515 S Dal...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Replacement catcher Adam Moore ready to play

Rays journal: Replacement catcher Adam Moore ready to play

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest Rays player is also nearly the oldest.With All-Star C Wilson Ramos on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Tampa Bay turned to veteran Adam Moore, 34, as the new backup catcher behind Jesus Sucre. Only reliever...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Martin Fennelly: Rays and Marlins at different stages of same mission

Martin Fennelly: Rays and Marlins at different stages of same mission

ST. PETERSBURG — New York Yankees god and former Tampa resident Derek Jeter, who was once going to save the Rays (or so we thought), was at Tropicana Field on Friday night. The Captain had the gall to show up as Miami Marlins chief executive of...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Dolphins owner: Actually, we haven’t decided whether to levy anthem penalties

Dolphins owner: Actually, we haven’t decided whether to levy anthem penalties

Times wiresThe NFL can't seem to get away from the divisive national anthem issue.The latest developments this week assure that, despite the league's wishes, the debate about how to handle players who kneel during the anthem to protest police violenc...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Late rally falls short as Rays lose to Marlins, 6-5

Late rally falls short as Rays lose to Marlins, 6-5

ST. PETERSBURG –The Rays rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth Friday night, but their rally came up short as the Marlins held on for a 6-5 win at Tropicana Field.Tampa Bay's bullpen gave up five runs in the seventh, and that was too...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Kiermaier has ‘severe bone bruise’ in foot, dates back to April injury

Kiermaier has ‘severe bone bruise’ in foot, dates back to April injury

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier left Friday's game in the fifth inning when an injury to his right foot that has bothered him since April flared up with the worst pain he's encountered this season.Kiermaier called the injury a "severe bone bruise" an...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Greg Auman’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Marlins game

Greg Auman’s takeaways from Friday’s Rays-Marlins game

Nathan Eovaldi bounced back nicely following an eight-out, eight-run outing last week vs. the Twins. He lasted six innings, gave up one run and struck out eight. Take away the Twins game and Eovaldi has allowed three earned runs in his past four star...
Updated: 11 hours ago