a08jan29.htm St. Pete Times articel
HELEN ANNE TRAVIS, Times Staff Writer
Published January 29, 2008
a family were evicted from their apartment and called Eugene Williams for a safe
place to sleep tonight, he fears he would be unable to help.
in Pasco we have no place to send them," said Williams, supervisor for the
Pasco Community Development Division and county representative for the Coalition
for the Homeless of Pasco County.
are two domestic violence shelters for women and children, and some emergency
shelters in case of a temperature drop. But there is no place for families and
no transitional housing for the temporarily homeless.
is part of the reason why 50 or so volunteers will wake up early Wednesday
morning and trek through the woods and the lines outside the day labor centers
to tally the number of homeless people living in Pasco County. The count is done
nationwide so the federal government knows how much money to send the states.
money for Pasco could mean more shelters.
county did the count in 2007 and could have waited until 2009, but Williams
doesn't believe the '07 numbers were accurate. He said they counted 1,500
homeless, but the Pasco County School Board reported approximately 1,200
homeless students that same year.
doesn't think those numbers add up.
the previous tally, conducted in 2006, volunteers counted 3,600 homeless. He did
not have the numbers from the prior count.
totals may have had an effect on the amount of funding the county received. The
state gave Pasco $60,000 in grant money when it reported 3,600, and only $26,000
when it reported 1,500, Williams said. He doesn't know if the funding directly
correlated with the numbers, but he wants to make sure the county's tally is
accurate this year.
they think the problem is gone, they cut the funds," Williams said.
this year, Williams and a team of volunteers, law enforcement agencies and
students from Pasco-Hernando Community College and Saint Leo University scouted
out more encampments and more spots in the county where the homeless hang out
and look for work.
count begins at 5 a.m. Wednesday.
exchange for a blanket and a pack of toothpaste and other necessities,
volunteers will ask the homeless for some basic information, like name, age,
sex, and how long they've been on the street.
the county will have a baseline number of how many homeless people live here,
and what kind of services they need.
activist Denny Mihalinec is coordinating the count for the east side of the
county. Mihalinec is the man behind Journey Village Inc., a nonprofit that wants
to build a transitional housing center in the county. He hopes that the county's
grant money can help him fulfill his dream, and he's willing to put in the sweat
equity the day of the count.
going to work from 4:30 a.m. until as late as I can, until I fall asleep,"
Anne Travis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352
Want to help?
Pasco County homeless count will start at5 a.m. Wednesday. Organizers estimate
it will take almost 24 hours. To volunteer, call the Coalition for the Homeless
at (727) 842-8605.
modified January 28, 2008, 21:26:35]