Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Volunteers count to end homelessness in Hillsborough

Volunteers gathered before dawn at churches and community centers across Hillsborough County, carrying cups of coffee and pulling on bright yellow T-shirts that read, "I am counting to end homelessness."

Their task for today and into tonight: To haunt city streets and shelters, makeshift camps and soup kitchens, and tally the number of homeless people currently in the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

"Remember, when you're talking to people, you're in their home, even if it's a sidewalk or a piece of cardboard," said the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative's Melissa Brass as she passed out clipboards and maps to volunteers shivering outside Hyde Park United Methodist Church.

At least 250 volunteers are expected today, among them Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, Tampa City Council member Lisa Montelione and County Administrator Mike Merrill.

"The critical thing about this day is it's a snapshot of where our community is in terms of homelessness," said volunteer Mindy Murphy, CEO of The Spring domestic violence shelter, as her group set out for the downtown Tampa bus station. "This is an opportunity to figure out what works."

They found homeless young and old, mostly men but women, too, shouldering their bedrolls and telling their stories.

Ben Morris, a 66-year-old Air Force veteran — volunteers had specific instructions on getting help for veterans — said he is only one social security check away from getting his car fixed and not having to sleep outside.

"There's a lot of us out here," he said.

This year's count also focuses on finding younger homeless people — "unaccompanied youth" ages 16 to 24 — a population homeless advocates say can be particularly difficult to identify on the streets. "They hide very well," said Lesa Weikel, spokeswoman for the homeless initiative. "We felt we needed an extra effort because they are the most vulnerable on the street."

With outreach efforts through Facebook, fliers and word of mouth, advocates hope to get young homeless people to two "youth events" today at The Well, 1300 E Seventh Ave. in Ybor City, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The tally of homeless people won't be ready for several weeks. Those numbers will be "very critical," Weikel said. in the roll-out of a new strategy to address homelessness in Hillsborough County.

"This plan is going to have very measurable goals, so these numbers are our baseline," she said. "This is our starting point moving forward."

Comments
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18
Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

Gary Trent, Duke rally past Miami with 18-0 run

CORAL GABLES — Gary Trent scored a season-high 30 and No. 5 Duke needed less than three minutes to erase a 13-point second-half deficit, scoring 18 consecutive points to overtake No. 25 Miami 83-75 on Monday night. The Blue Devils scored 15 in six po...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

Mother of two, 42, identified as casualty after Port Richey boat fire

PORT RICHEY — As the boat disappeared in smoke and flames Sunday, as people leapt into the cold waters below, the neighborhood rallied. Residents helped the survivors ashore, gave them blankets and opened their homes to keep them warm.The neighbors o...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 15, midday:40 098 2397e_SRit98281Mon., Jan. 15, evening:14 345 3173e_SRit61471Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 15...
Updated: 7 hours ago
On King’s birthday, Tampa Bay parties, marches, reflects

On King’s birthday, Tampa Bay parties, marches, reflects

ST. PETERSBURGTeenagers dunked on 8-foot basketball hoops, parents feasted on hot dogs and snow cones and gospel music blared from a wall of speakers in Tropicana Field’s parking lots.While thousands buzzed around them on Monday, Destiny and Dameka R...
Updated: 7 hours ago

ConnecticutArmy vet sues VA over scalpel left in body after surgeryAn Army veteran who says someone left a scalpel inside him after surgery is suing a Connecticut veterans affairs hospital. Bridgeport resident Glenford Turner says the scalpel was onl...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Updated: 8 hours ago
A time of celebration

A time of celebration

GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | TimesBetty Taylor, who was marching with the organization Books on the Move, hands out beads along the MLK Dream Big Parade route in downtown St. Petersburg on Monday. Spectators were treated to floats, walking units and...
Updated: 8 hours ago

50 senators endorse net neutrality return

WASHINGTON — Fifty U.S. senators have endorsed a legislative measure to override the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to deregulate the broadband industry, top Democrats said Monday.The tally leaves supporters just one vote shy of ...
Updated: 8 hours ago