Sunday, January 03, 2010

Run a red light to support the homeless

The dollars produced by red-light cameras are hard to ignore.

So the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County has been quietly shopping an idea around to a handful of county officials. Their proposal: Let the revenue pay for social service programs, particularly those aimed at the problem of homelessness.

The Homeless Coalition is working on a 10-year plan for ending homelessness. That plan is expected to include everything from creating emergency shelter space to helping people find employment and affordable rentals.

All those initiatives would need a revenue stream, especially if the county hopes to attract matching federal dollars, said Port Richey Mayor Richard Rober, who also serves on the coalition's board.

"I think it's something commissioners need to think about on a deep social level," said Rober. "What we wanted to do was go to them and say 'We need a funding source but we know you don't have a lot of revenue.'"

Read the St. Petersburg Times report here. In an editorial, the Times doesn't think this is such a great idea. "It is a revenue grab, plain and simple, even if the expected outcome would be a beneficial plan to help the needy." Check out the Times editorial here.

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