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Christopher O'Donnell - Vulnerable Communities Reporter

Vulnerable Communities Reporter

I’m a political junkie and I love literature so this job fits like a glove. But journalism wasn’t my first career. I was born and grew up in England and programmed computers for a living. I switched to reporting when I moved to Florida in 2001. I got my first break at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune after earning a journalism degree from the University of South Florida. I joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2016 after a three-year stint at the Tampa Tribune, where I covered city halls on both sides of Tampa Bay. When I’m not shouting at cable news, I love watching real football from England (alright, soccer) and riding my road bike on trails.

  1. Andrew Morrow, 67, an Army veteran, has a place to live through Operation Reveille and the Tampa-Hillsborough Homeless Coalition. Some days, Morrow said, he would wake up crying after a night on the streets.
    Through Operation Reveille, advocates spend the year finding housing for Hillsborough’s homeless veterans. Their numbers have fallen since it launched in 2014.
  2. An architect's sketch of a foster care village proposed for Lake Magdalene.
    Residential houses, a school and professional foster parents are part of a $17 million plan to transform an aging Carrollwood group home.
  3. About 35 tenants with mental health issues were forced to move out of Friendship Palms, a Tampa housing complex owned and run by Project Return, a Tampa non-profit. Court records show the group sold the complex for $1.7 million to a New Jersey real estate group.
    A New Jersey real estate group plans to renovate the Waters Avenue property sold by Tampa non-profit Project Return.
  4. Tampa City Hall.
    City attorneys intend to appeal a U.S. district judge’s ruling last month overturning Tampa’s ban of a treatment that has been deemed harmful and ineffective.
  5. St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love (front) and former St. Petersburg Housing Authority Board Chairman Harry Harvey (left). Love is threatening to sue the agency and Mayor Rick Kriseman over his August termination. Harvey is one of three former board members suing Kriseman and the city of St. Petersburg for removing them from office.
    Ex-CEO Tony Love’s attorney claims the St. Petersburg Housing Authority violated Love’s rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.
  6. The Hillsborough County Family Prevention Services Collaboration Center will be the epicenter of a $3 million plan to ease the county's foster care crisis. This new assessment center will include case managers and behavioral specialists who can accompany child protective investigators as they visit homes reported to the state's abuse hotline. Shown above is a corner play area set up for children at the center on Falkenburg Road.
    Child welfare workers in the new $3 million program will work to keep children with their families and out of foster care.
  7. Burgandie N. Marquez, 30, of Palm Harbor, faces a charge of first -degree murder over the death of her 5-month-old son.
    The family of 5-month old Mason Marquez was the subject of five reports to Florida’s abuse hotline, state records show.
  8. Two beds can be seen in a girl's cottage at the Lake Magdalene group home in Tampa. The campus is owned by Hillsborough County and used to house children considered at risk of ending up in the juvenile justice system. Commissioner Les Miller wants the county to also take in older foster teens who have refused placements and ended up sleeping in offices.
    Hillsborough Commission Chairman Les Miller also opposes the controversial plan. He wants the county to house children at the Lake Magdalene group home.
  9. (From left) Geoff Wood, land owner Roberto Nunez and home builder Jim Reynolds pose for a photo on Nunez's five-acre property close to Hillsborough County's Lake Magdalene. Reynolds wants to help the county's affordable housing crisis by building 19 low-cost homes. But they have been frustrated by  regulations and conflicting advice on how to get approval from the county.
    Home builders find it’s not so easy to build low-cost housing.
  10. A federal judge has struck down Tampa's 2017 ban on so-called conversion therapy. The practice has been promoted by some religious groups as a way to a way to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
    It’s not the city’s job to regulate health care treatments like therapy, says the judge, who also expressed concern about the violation of parents’ rights.