Tent City discussion continues in Hillsborough County

08/26/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Last night In Tampa, neighbors opposed to a proposed tent city to house 250 people in the East Lake Park District east of Tampa kept the pressure up at a Zoning Master Hearing.

Catholic Charities has proposed using 12 acres of church-owned land off East Hillsborough Avenue near I-4 for about 250 tents and 6-foot by 8-foot wooden sheds known as casitas. It would be similar to the Pinellas Hope tent city near Clearwater.

In order to reassure concerned citizens in the neighborhood, Catholic Charities announced a series of changes in its original request to rezone the land and get the support of the County Commission, who will decide the issue in October.

Kathy Bryant is a critic of the proposed tent city. Bryant said she wanted a medical assessment for all of those who officially enter the Tent City, and she wanted a Code of Behavior.

Crystal Range from East Lake Park was not moved by changes made by Catholic Charities.

Hal Hart has been one of the spokesman for East Lake Park residents. He disparaged Pinellas Hope, the tent city created in Pinellas County by the same organization trying to provide housing in Hillsborough.

Hart also quoted the Executive Director of the Hillsborough County Homeless Coalition, Rayme Knuckles, of being critical of any homeless institution that would house as many as 250 people.

Hearing officer Scarola is expected to file his recommendation on the changes to commissioners next month.

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