Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg seeks help in paying for homeless consultant

ST. PETERSBURG — The city is asking other governments to help pay an expert to develop a plan to deal with a growing homelessness problem.

Mayor Bill Foster sent out a letter Wednesday, asking Pinellas cities and county government to chip in.

The plan is to be developed by Robert Marbut, founding president and chief executive of Haven for Hope, a 37-acre complex in San Antonio, Texas, devoted to helping the homeless. Marbut will be paid $5,300 a month to develop a system to evaluate and improve the efficiency of the county's homeless services providers.

"(Marbut's) model, we believe, could be successful in Pinellas County as long as we join government and social service agencies in one accord to resolve our homeless challenges," Foster wrote. "I hope that you will consider playing a role in this exercise, and that you will assist as a partner, with your expertise and funding, in the creation of this countywide action plan."

The request comes as social service providers report seeing a new wave of homeless people.

"Every place in the county is seeing the ranks of the homeless rise," said Sarah Snyder, executive director of Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless. "We've already run through the construction workers, who were the first to lose jobs. Then it was service workers, now we're getting people with good work histories.

"We're at a loss at what to do," she said. "We're at the point where we need jobs, low-income affordable housing."

Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard is open to Foster's request, but he said he wants more details before committing city funds and resources. The problem, he said, is that in tight economic times, Clearwater is already spending more than ever on the homeless.

Marbut and officials throughout the county have already started meeting. Cliff Smith, the assistant director of Pinellas County health and human services, said he supports Foster's request so far.

"We can't do what they did in San Antonio, which cost more than $116 million to build," Smith said. "But it's wide open to what we can do. It's really kind of cool. I view it as a positive that (St. Petersburg) is bringing him in to work with us."

Foster said he doesn't know how long making a plan will take but the contract runs eight months.

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (727) 893-8037 or

. Fast facts

Consultant's deal

Consultant Robert Marbut's terms with St. Petersburg:

• $5,300 a month, not to exceed $42,400 (eight months) without prior written consent by the city.

• Air travel, not to exceed $8,000.

• Car rental during visits to St. Petersburg, not to exceed $3,440.

• Meal expenses, paid at government per diem rate.

• The city shall book and pay for his lodging when he stays in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg seeks help in paying for homeless consultant 10/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Long before Trump hired (and fired) him, Steve Bannon was making deals and kindling political fires in Florida


    With Steve Bannon leaving the White House soon, we're re-posting this Leary-Smith look at Bannon's significant, if mysterious, Florida ties.

    Steve Bannon’s voter registration from August 2016 shows he moved from Miami to Nokomis in Sarasota County.
  2. Rick Baker won't recuse himself from city business with his current boss Bill Edwards


    ST. PETERSBURG — If Rick Baker is elected mayor, he said he will not recuse himself from any city business involving his current boss, businessman Bill Edwards.

    Rick Baker and Bill Edwards listen to NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson during a press conference at the Mahaffey Theater in 2013 announcing that Edwards was the team's new owner. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]

  3. Spooky Empire brings Spooky Day in the Parks to Disney World


    Foolish mortals, evil queens and hook-handed pirates finally get their own day this year at Walt Disney World.

    Spooky Day in the Parks comes to Disney World Sept. 22-24.
  4. New York Times: Trump tells aides he has decide to remove Steve Bannon


    President Donald Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Trump win the 2016 election, the New York Times reports, citing two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

    White House chief strategist Steve Bannon steps off Air Force One as he arrives Sunday at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Bannon was with President Donald Trump on his return trip from Florida. [Alex Brandon | Associated Press]
  5. The weeks' most compelling photos from Tampa Bay and Florida

    Human Interest

    Florida photos of the week for August 11 - August 18: Beach family yoga, Confederate symbols as flashpoints, American Idol winners and hopefuls, Fetish Con, the second oldest survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack turns 104, an armada of rubber ducks, and more.

    Jayden Sheene, 8, left, and Zoey Sheene, 6, rest atop at the arms and legs of their mother, Shelby Sheene, 27, of Holiday, while participating in a Beach Family Yoga gathering on Tuesday (8/15/17) at the Dunedin Causeway. The donation-based classes, hosted each Tuesday (10am), near the Sail Honeymoon rentals, were organized by area moms who wanted to practice yoga while providing an opportunity bond with their children through the spiritual and physical contact of the practice, which has its roots in ancient India. Yoga uses breathing techniques, poses and meditation to help improve health and happiness. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times)