Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

North Pinellas letters: Among those serving the homeless, Clearwater's HEP stands out

Homeless funding too fickle story, June 24

Clearwater's HEP stands out

Kudos to state Sen. Jack Latvala for his efforts to identify funding for homeless needs throughout Pinellas County. This commitment is particularly notable in light of the severity of the problem and the relative impact it has on the men, women and children affected as well as its reflection on our communities.

As reported by Times staff writer Anna Phillips, the need for funding services for the homeless spreads across counties throughout the state and for the most part, services are very scarce and vary greatly. Many different agencies and charitable organizations work tirelessly to tackle the problem.

A shining star in the consortium of organizations serving the homeless is the Homeless Emergency Project, or HEP, in Clearwater.

This 400-bed facility provides a three-tier continuum of care consisting of emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing, and is the only homeless facility in Pinellas that also serves children and families.

The newest addition to HEP's campus includes a dedicated housing complex for veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The numbers and operating statistics are outstanding: 1,700 clients served in the past year, more than 100,000 meals served, $500,000 of volunteer dental clinic procedures provided, and 87 percent of clients successfully transitioned out of homelessness.

As a nonprofit, 501c(3) organization, HEP has earned a Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating for its quality outcomes, organizational transparency and the fact that 88 percent of its fundraising goes directly to programs and services supporting the homeless.

David W. Dunbar, HEP board member, Palm Harbor

Shelter clients scatter after ministry's eviction | story, July 21

Use foreign aid to help our homeless

Why is it that our government feels justified to give away billions of dollars each year to nations abroad for humanitarian assistance, when our own streets are rife with homelessness?

Until each and every homeless person in these United States is provided for, with food to eat, a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in, no money should leave this country.

Folks like Pastor Jeffrey Polhill of Touched by an Angel, who is swindling the poor by charging them as much as $112 a week to sleep in filth, need to be put out of business.

The billions of dollars sent abroad should instead be divided among the states to provide for our own. It's the same old, same old: The shoemaker's children still have no shoes.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

New Countryside branch library

Save a bunch by saving old library

The existing Countryside Library in Clearwater seems to be just fine as it is, and though it has not been maintained as well as it should have been, can be tweaked here and there and save a bunch of money. Why are we thinking, in these austere times, like the throw-away culture?

Mrs. Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18