Monday, January 26, 2009

How can we count the homeless
if the police are taking them to jail?

As counties across Florida prepare for their annual homeless count, Hillsborough will wait another month.

Too cold? Too many transients?

Not exactly. Homeless advocates fear police will arrest so many homeless to clear the streets for the Super Bowl that any count would be inaccurate.*

"It's happened during other big events when there are a lot of out-of-town visitors," said Rayme Nuckles, chief executive officer of the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. "But we know it's occurring now because some of our providers heard from a (police) captain at a meeting that they were arresting homeless people and holding them in jail."

Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said there is no such mandate.

Sara Romeo, executive director of Tampa Crossroads, a homeless advocacy group, and a former state representative, said she knows police are conducting homeless sweeps right now.

"I'm sure homelessness hurts the image of every city that has a Super Bowl," she said. "But if we addressed this issue the other 364 days prior to Super Bowl, we wouldn't have so many homeless people to round up and hide."

Read the St. Petersburg Times article here.
* People in jail do not count as "homeless" under the official federal definition of "homeless."


At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Gary said...

It cannot have effect as a matter of fact, that's exactly what I suppose.
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