Hillsborough Homeless Coalition doing more with less

01/29/09 Mitch E. Perry
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The head of the Coalition for the Homeless in Hillsborough County says his organization is trying to do more with less this year.

Rayme Nuckles told the Tampa City Council that when the Coalition does its annual count of the homeless next month, he expects to have a higher count than a year ago. And, he says the organization will be doing the count with fewer dollars.

Nuckles said he has great hopes for the economic stimulus package that passed the House of Representatives Wednesday night and is now being debated in the Senate. He says there are provisions in the legislation right now that would give a big boost in Tampa and Hillsborough County.

The 2007 homeless count officially listed 9,532 homeless people in Hillsborough. That’s the highest of any county in Florida. But Nuckles says when the county does its next count, he expects an increase of perhaps as much as 25 percent because of the financial crisis.

The count, originally scheduled to take place this week, was delayed because of concerns that not enough volunteers would be available with Super Bowl activities under way.

Knuckles said a big concern is lack of prevention funding. Nuckles said there’s been a migration of homeless from Tampa to Brandon, and thus he’s been sending services to that region, as well as working with social service agencies there.

Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena hoped the Homeless Coalition will continue to be successful in helping those who are temporarily sidelined to rebound back into a stable lifestyle.

Last week Nuckles told the St. Petersburg Times that he had heard from second-hand sources that a Tampa Police captain claimed the city was moving the homeless out of Tampa for the Super Bowl. On Monday, Mayor Pam Iorio strongly denied any such action, and later a police spokesperson said they were investigating what official might have made such remarks.

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