Saturday, April 21, 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: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

Editorial: Don’t fall for Constitution Revision Commission’s tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the state’s fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the Nove...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Redner’s court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18