Romneyville campers may struggle with finding a place to sleep after Republican convention
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08/30/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

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The Romneyville camp in downtown Tampa was set up as a place for both protesters and people without homes to sleep during the Republican National Convention. Now that the event is drawing to a close people are going to have to start finding other places to go.

Shortly after all of the delegates and journalists leave Tampa, Romneyville residents will have to pack up their tents and go somewhere else. The Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign leased the property where they’re staying for four months, and that time is up early next month. Curtis Hunt Jr. won’t go to a shelter. He said that’s because they won’t let him stay with his wife and it’s not safe.

“There’s been a lot of people’s gear being stolen in that place. And it’s kind of like a place for people to single out who is a part of doing drugs, part of prostitution, a part of that world of the hood or the ghetto – I can’t say that, just crime period. ”

And Hunt said some places, like St. Vincent De Paul, don’t take good enough care of the people going their for help.

“They’re not feeding us our diets that we need. If I want to be unhealthy, I should have the choice to go be unhealthy. If I want to go eat at McDonalds and eat a burger or go get a chili dog, that’s my choice. But I don’t want to eat bread which is bleached and sugar and salt and its got like no meat on it and you just take a condensed can of something that needs water to it and put it in there. This is flavorless stuff. It causes stress; it causes unhappiness and depression.”

Sometimes, he added, it was even a tease.

“The fruit trucks that come through and all the trucks that come through with nutrients, they would bring through fresh juices and fresh fruit and fresh everything. You would see tons of food behind the counter when we went to go eat, but the thing was though, nobody got it.”

Anthony Tores has been homeless for two months and is staying at Romneyville. He said there are places to go like the Salvation Army shelter, but he’s already exhausted that option.

“They give you five free nights and after that you have to start paying yourself and for a person like me, I don’t have no income, no way of getting money, I couldn’t afford it. So, I used my five days then I started sleeping under a bridge. They kicked me out – I didn’t have the money. On top of that, they don’t feed regular meals to the people that don’t stay there. If you don’t stay there, you don’t eat.”

Staying at the Salvation Army shelter is $10 a night after a person has used up all their freebies. Many of the area’s poor who no longer have a place to live don’t have a way to pay that. Romneyville organizer Bruce Wright thinks there are too many obstacles for people on the streets to earn money. When they do manage to make a buck, Wright he said check cashing services like Amscot charge too much.

“Homeless folks and poor folks are reliant on people writing them personal checks and even business owners sometimes, if someone does some temporary labor, write it from a business check.”

Wright is planning to protest Amscot but he hasn’t released a date or location for that demonstration yet.


RNC Coverage by WMNF News



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