Thursday, December 14, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Positive trends on Hillsborough homelessness

Few problems seem as ever-present for growing urban areas as homelessness. But the most recent annual count shows that Hillsborough County's homeless population fell over the past year. It's only a snapshot, and whether this starts a positive new trend remains to be seen. The county, the city of Tampa and the private sector need to continue to work together to find more affordable and safe housing options.

The February count by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative found roughly 1,550 people living either in shelters or on the street, a drop of 15 percent from 2016. This marks a big dent in numbers that had stayed above 1,900 for years, and coming in a recovering economy, it gives confidence to homeless advocates who are looking to cut these numbers significantly by 2022.

The Hillsborough program credits a change in strategy. The push now is to find permanent homes, not transitional housing, and to serve the homeless with wraparound services — health care, counseling, employment assistance — in order to stabilize their environment and move them to self-sufficiency.

"Housing first" is a long-range strategy that addresses many of the root causes of homelessness. It is a preferred approach for many, including the Trump administration. But there still is a need for temporary housing to help some bridge a crisis. With the Trump administration proposing to cut $6 billion from urban aid in the coming year — including many programs that fund housing, health care, veterans services and other social assistance — it will fall to cities and states to be more creative in how they spend public money and partner with the private sector to find stable and affordable housing.

The numbers have turned in the right direction. Hillsborough should pursue its ambitious plan to expand permanent housing. But it also needs to recognize that shelters play a critical role and will continue to in a growing county where social services and jobs are widely dispersed.

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Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

How much information about you is on your cellphone? Likely the most intimate details of your life: photographs, internet searches, text and email conversations with friends and colleagues. And though you might not know it, your phone is constantly c...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

Confronted with documentation of sanctioned brutality and sexual abuse in Florida’s juvenile detention centers, the reaction from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration was defensive and obtuse. So it’s welcome news that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, it’s obvious that Jeff Vinik’s plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17