Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18