Monday, November 20, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Positive trends on Hillsborough homelessness

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Few problems seem as ever-present for growing urban areas as homelessness. But the most recent annual count shows that Hillsborough County's homeless population fell over the past year. It's only a snapshot, and whether this starts a positive new trend remains to be seen. The county, the city of Tampa and the private sector need to continue to work together to find more affordable and safe housing options.

The February count by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative found roughly 1,550 people living either in shelters or on the street, a drop of 15 percent from 2016. This marks a big dent in numbers that had stayed above 1,900 for years, and coming in a recovering economy, it gives confidence to homeless advocates who are looking to cut these numbers significantly by 2022.

The Hillsborough program credits a change in strategy. The push now is to find permanent homes, not transitional housing, and to serve the homeless with wraparound services — health care, counseling, employment assistance — in order to stabilize their environment and move them to self-sufficiency.

"Housing first" is a long-range strategy that addresses many of the root causes of homelessness. It is a preferred approach for many, including the Trump administration. But there still is a need for temporary housing to help some bridge a crisis. With the Trump administration proposing to cut $6 billion from urban aid in the coming year — including many programs that fund housing, health care, veterans services and other social assistance — it will fall to cities and states to be more creative in how they spend public money and partner with the private sector to find stable and affordable housing.

The numbers have turned in the right direction. Hillsborough should pursue its ambitious plan to expand permanent housing. But it also needs to recognize that shelters play a critical role and will continue to in a growing county where social services and jobs are widely dispersed.

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Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17