Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

211 hotline says: 'Always somewhere to turn' for people, families in crisis

When Vicki Hummer heard of the Brown family's tragedy, it felt personal.

She works at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, home to the Hillsborough County 211 crisis hotline and a number of services for people and families dealing with emotional or financial strain.

Although Dawn Brown and her two children lived in Pinellas County, there are similar services there, and yet the family fell through the cracks. Brown and her husband faced foreclosure, their power had been turned off and Brown had been charged with welfare fraud. Authorities say Dawn Brown killed her sons and then herself late Friday.

"We really hope we can catch all those people that are in great need as this family was," said Hummer, director of trauma informed care at the Crisis Center.

The agency is among many offering help throughout the Tampa Bay area.

The first step in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco or Hernando counties, officials said: dial 211.

Crisis specialists will answer and put the caller in touch with local resources to assist them in their time of need.

"We are the connection between the person in need and the agency that can help them," said Angela Pelegrini, a manager at 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, in charge of the hotline for Pinellas and Hernando counties.

Every year, Pelegrini said, 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares helps more than 100,000 people. In Hillsborough, about 180,000 people make contact with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

Calls are confidential, and the hotline is available 24 hours.

Services offered at the Crisis Center include the family stability program, which helps families with budgeting and puts them in touch with other resources, like obtaining money for basic needs, including utility bills.

"The goal is really to keep them from cycling back into financial crisis," Hummer said.

The Suncoast Center, with locations in St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Pinellas Park, puts families in touch with specialists who visit their homes for counseling. They help families set and reach goals, said Angeline Howell, director of clinical services at Suncoast. She wants families in crisis to know there are places to get help.

"If they just feel like they don't have anywhere to turn," she said, "there's always somewhere to turn."

Laura C. Morel can be reached at (727)893-8713, or [email protected]

Comments

Two treated at hospital after fire at Apollo Beach home

Two elderly residents were treated at a local hospital after a fire at an Apollo Beach home early Thursday morning.Hillsborough Fire Rescue crews, responding to the 600 block of Flamingo Drive around 4 a.m., found the home fully engulfed in flames.Tw...
Updated: 3 hours ago
‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

PORT RICHEY — The first call came into emergency dispatch at 4 p.m. on Sunday from shore, reporting a ‘giant’ boat on fire in the Pithlachascotee River."It’s urgent," the caller said.Others followed quickly, one woman crying as she described from her...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

GIBSONTON — A 46-year-old man was arrested Wednesday by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents on 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child.Authorities said they received several tip...
Published: 01/17/18

He still has nightmares: Deckhand recalls prior casino boat fire

Cory Byrd said he still has nightmares about the smoke. In them, he is back in the cabin of the Express Shuttle II, scrambling to reach the white rectangle of an open door. The smoke was so thick, he said, you could barely see an outstretched hand. ...
Published: 01/17/18
Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

LARGO — For years, county sheriffs in the United States have faced a quandary when asked by federal officials to hold undocumented immigrants in their local jails. They could continue to hold them for up to two days past the time they were legally fr...
Published: 01/17/18
McDonald’s manager gets ovation at Seminole Heights investigation ceremony

McDonald’s manager gets ovation at Seminole Heights investigation ceremony

TAMPA — Delanda Walker, the McDonald’s employee who gave police the tip that led to an arrest in the Seminole Heights slayings, received a standing ovation Wednesday during a ceremony thanking citizens who helped in the investigation.Mayor Bob Buckho...
Published: 01/17/18
Casino company set to sail again Thursday after deadly boat fire

Casino company set to sail again Thursday after deadly boat fire

PORT RICHEY — Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz said it plans to reopen on Thursday and resume shuttling passengers back out to its gambling vessel in the Gulf of Mexico three days after a boat fire forced 50 passengers and crew to abandon ship.The 72-foot...
Published: 01/17/18
Man robbed while responding to Craigslist sex ad

Man robbed while responding to Craigslist sex ad

HOLIDAY — A man responding to a Craiglist ad for sex was instead robbed by the boyfriend of the woman he was meeting, sheriff’s deputies said. Robert Roser, 39, of Holiday claimed he was part of a police sting operation before taking $60 and two blue...
Published: 01/17/18

Teen, 14, arrested on charges of bringing loaded gun to Plant City High School

PLANT CITY — A 14-year-old high school student was accused of bringing a loaded gun to campus on Tuesday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies arrested the boy after 3 p.m. at Plant City High School after administrators foun...
Published: 01/17/18

Plant City family attacked, robbed during early-morning home invasion

PLANT CITY — A 63-year-old woman was unloading items from her car when two men forced her into home at gun-point and threatened to kill her and her family, according to Plant City police. The woman arrived to her home on the 2700 block of Barrett Ave...
Published: 01/17/18