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