VOLUME 2 ISSUE 5
A Noteworthy Time for the Tampa Community • TampaEpoch.org
Homeless Coalition Announces Renewal of Multi-Million Dollar Grant PAGE 6
Free Healthy Food PAGE 10
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Tampa Epoch is published monthly by Hand Up for Homeless Inc Contents of Tampa Epoch may not be reproduced or copied without the written permission of the Publisher. This includes photocopying and electrical or mechanical reproduction in any form.
Steven Sapp Publisher 813.352.6087 firstname.lastname@example.org Amanda Molé Editor In Chief email@example.com Quincy Walters Contributing Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Guest Writers Megan M. Allen Emily Brown Laura Lewis LaTrasha Freeney
Amanda Molé Advertising, Donations, & Sponsorships email@example.com Jennifer Dufek Print Design and Layout
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To be considered for publication, all articles, announcements and ads must be submitted by the 15th of each month.
Letters to the Editor and news of your organization or club is welcome but we reserve the right to edit submissions. Please submit via email in .pdf, .jpg or .doc file format to firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Hand Up for Homeless Inc or its advertisers. Hand Up for Homeless Inc reserves the right to refuse advertisements or copy deemed unacceptable or inappropriate by the Publisher or the Editor. In the event of any error in advertising, this publication will not be financially responsible beyond the cost of the original advertisement in which the error appears.
Tampa, Florida, Code of Ordinances CODE OF ORDINANCES Chapter 6. BUSINESS REGULATION ARTICLE III. SPECIFIC REGULATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS DIVISION 12. NEWSPAPER STREET SALES ALLOWED Sec. 6-265. - Newspaper street sales allowed. Newspaper street sales shall be allowed throughout the city, provided the requirements in subsection (b) of this section are met. For purposes of this division, a “newspaper” means any current news publication printed in a language commonly spoken in the area within which it circulates, which is readily available for purchase by all inhabitants in its area of circulation, but does not include a newspaper intended primarily for members of a particular professional or occupational group, a newspaper the primary function of which is to carry legal notices, or a newspaper that is given away primarily to distribute advertising.
A THANKS TO: Lauren Thomas
Jo Ann Fenstermacher Lorie Fridell Sherry Silk
Persons who are authorized and credentialed by a newspaper business shall be allowed to sell or offer for sale newspapers while the newspaper salesperson or customer or both are upon the paved portion of a street providing the following circumstances are met:
A person does not persist or initiate further contact, either by word, action, or gesture, with a motorist or occupant of a vehicle after a solicitation has been denied, ignored, or rejected.
A person does not act in a demanding or harassing manner, including, but not limited to, knocking on or touching any portion of the vehicle.
Keith Roberts Patrick Duncheon Amanda Mole
A person does not request or cause a motorist or occupant of a vehicle to stop or slow the motor vehicle or open the door of the motor vehicle.
A person does not use any sound or voice-amplifying apparatus or device.
A person shall have in his/her possession at the time of solicitation some form of picture identification.
A person is at least eighteen (18) years of age. A person is wearing a high-visibility vest at the time of the solicitation. When a traffic signal allows motorists in that lane to proceed, the person engaging in newspaper street sales shall be standing either on a median or at least two (2) feet outside of the road.
Kaenchan Peterson Zehra Asghar Susan Smith
No person shall cause delay of any length to any motorist with the right to proceed on the road.
All newspaper salespersons shall be authorized to do sales by the newspaper business, and shall, at the time of such sales, be wearing a photo identification badge clearly identifying the newspaper business, the newspaper business phone number, and some form of identifying name or number which can be used to identify the salesperson.
http://library.municode.com/print.aspx?clientID=10132&HT MRequest=http%3a%2f%2flib... 5/4/2012
Locations NOT Allowing Newspaper Sales at Any Time Fowler and Bruce B. Downs Fowler and Nebraska Waters and Armenia Hillsborough and 40th Hillsborough and Himes Hillsborough and Armenia Hillsborough and Lois Hillsborough and 22nd Street Dale Mabry and Columbus Gandy and Manhattan
Elizabeth Cass CJ Cummings Maynard Ramsey Maureen Hamrock
For becoming vendor sponsors and assisting in supporting Tampa Epoch
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Letter from the Editor Hello Tampa Epoch readers. As the new editor of Epoch, I’d like to introduce myself, as well as thank you for your support of the newspaper and our vendors. In my short time working with the homeless community in Tampa, I have cried a little and learned a lot. I have seen a side of humanity that most of us would prefer to pretend doesn’t exist, and few of us would ever challenge. And that ugliness I have witnessed hasn’t come from the homeless community. It’s come from everyone else. We treat our homeless population about as well as we treat feral cats. We ostracize them, yell at them, arrest them, and hide them. We complain that they breed and they carry diseases. Sometimes, we even kick them if they’re in the way. Most of the time, we ignore them. A few – very, very few – kind souls will feed them and treat them with compassion. I had the privilege of participating in Epoch’s “Vendor for a Day” event as a volunteer on April 13. I can’t say it was a fun experience, but it was definitely educational. I spent three hours on a median during mid-day traffic, smiling and waving, trying to sell Epoch papers to passers-by. There was no respite from the unrelenting sun – I am smearing aloe on my sun burnt face and arms as I type this. There was a nagging fear of a traffic accident in the back of my mind all day. I was inhaling exhaust fumes. I endured a few outright nasty interactions, but most people chose to ignore me. Only two people actually spoke to me. In three hours, I made about $16 and change from paper sales and donations. I was thankful to get into my air-conditioned car and drive home for a shower. I can’t begin to imagine life like that every day, especially with no aloe, no air conditioning, and no shower! An old American Indian proverb says, “Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his
moccasins.” I walked the same 100 feet of a median over and over again for three hours, and I still can’t begin to understand the plight of our homeless community. Yet, there are those who readily offer criticism from the comfort of their ergonomic chairs in air-conditioned offices, calling the homeless “lazy,” “drug addicts,” “nut jobs,” and the like. “Why don’t they just get a job?” some ask. “It’s because they don’t want to work,” others answer. If there is one thing I learned during my “Vendor for a Day” experience, it’s that homelessness is not the easy way out. It’s not a result of laziness. I worked harder selling newspapers than I ever did sitting in an office chair. One thing is for sure: Tampa’s homeless need Epoch. They need the work. They need the financial support. And they need the moral support from readers like you. Thank you for supporting our vendors and giving them a hand up into a better life.
Amanda lé Mo
-- Amanda Molé, Editor, Tampa Epoch
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SOME HILLSBOROUGH RESIDENTS ARE BREATHING EASY THANKS TO POLICIES IN MULTI-UNIT HOUSING By Emily Brown, DTR, CLC
It seeps through air ducts and between cracks in the walls. It hovers in corridors and hallways, making its way under door jambs and floor boards. It penetrates elevator shafts and airspaces, and can not be controlled by ventilation or air cleaning. It is second hand smoke (SHS), the smoke exhaled by a smoker or rising from the end of a burning cigarette. With over 250 toxic chemicals and 69 carcinogens, there is no doubt: SHS affects everyone in multi-unit housing.
The Bottom Line: Tobacco Costs Tenants and Property Managers • Smoking is the number one cause of home fire deaths in the United States.1
• Maintenance and construction costs are approximately 7% higher in buildings that allow smoking compared to those that are smoke-free.2 • It costs approximately three times as much to “flip” a smoker’s apartment. The additional costs add up quickly: replacing carpets, repainting smoke stained walls (often with extra coats), extensive cleaning of duct ventilation, and repairs to burns.3 Because of inherent risks of fires and damage to buildings caused by cigarette smoke, property managers pay more to insure and maintain buildings where smoking is allowed, passing these costs on to tenants.
Going Smoke Free in Multi-Unit Housing
Surveys indicate that 82 percent of Florida adults are non-smokers. Additionally, 4 out of 5 of non-smokers would prefer a smoke-free building policy where they live.4 Fortunately for Hillsborough County, some multi-unit housing complexes have developed smoke-free policies, allowing residents and buildings to breath easy.
Sources 1: CDC; 2: Center for Health Promotion; 3: Florida Smoke-Free MUH Webinar, March 12, 2013; 4: Preferences and practices among renters regarding smoking restrictions in apartment buildings. Hennrikus et al. Tob Control. 2003 Jun; 12(2):189-94.
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Of the over 17,000 homeless in Hillsborough County, 23% of them are children. Though astounding, I feel that number is low. As a public school teacher, I see many “hidden” homeless in our classrooms—students who are not recorded as homeless, but are yet still living with family members and friends, with no stable room or place to call their own. We have so many people that need help getting back on their feet, for themselves and their children.
The Epoch is just that. It is a lever to help our homeless move forward and move up. It is a way for people—regardless of professional or personal history—to give to the Tampa community and start down a road to change their lives for the better. It is a chance and a beautiful opportunity for those who need a fresh start. And as a teacher, I feel that this paper is integral to helping those in our community who need it most, including the little learners and dreamers that trickle into our schools every day. Megan M. Allen, NBCT 2010 Florida Department of Education/ Macy’s Teacher of the Year 5th grade teacher, Shaw Elementary School Teacherpreneur, Center for Teaching Quality
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s e c n u o n n A n o i t i l a o C Homeless n o i l l i M i t l u M f o l a w e n Re s s e l e m o H d n a t n a r G r Dolla e t a d p U t n u o C TAMPA, Fla. – (Wednesday, March 20, 2013) – At a press conference earlier this afternoon, the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the renewal award of $5.1 million of the community’s Homeless Assistance Grant (also known as the continuum of care grant). The renewal award represents a 3.75 percent decrease over the previous year’s renewal award. The decrease is partly due to the change in Fair Market Rent calculations, established by HUD each year. For a one-bedroom unit, the FMR decreased from $766 in 2012 to $730 in 2013. The Homeless Coalition staff is responsible for submitting the annual application, with the assistance of the programs that requested renewal funding. This funding, which totals $5,188,111, will allow 23 housing programs to continue to serve homeless men, women and children in Hillsborough County. The eight agencies that operate these funded programs are: the Agency for Community Treatment Services (ACTS), Alpha House of Tampa, the Homeless Coalition, Mental Health Care (MHC), Project Return, the Salvation Army, The Spring of Tampa Bay, and Tampa Housing Authority. “We are excited that HUD renewed our funding based on the successful outcomes achieved last year,” said Maria Barcus, chief executive officer
of the Homeless Coalition. “This program will continue to provide housing and supportive services to more than 1,250 homeless people this year. While this funding is specifically designated to serve the homeless, it is only one component of the overall effort needed to reduce and end homelessness.” In an effort to marshal additional government and private resources, HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness selected Hillsborough as one of ten communities nationwide for a concerted effort. The Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness committees are hard at work and expected to formulate recommendations in the next few months for ending chronic and veterans’ homelessness by the end of 2015 and ending children and youth homelessness by the end of 2020. The Homeless Coalition also submitted, as part of the grant application, a request to reallocate funding from four programs, totaling $323,079 for a permanent housing program for chronically homeless individuals and families. This program will be operated by Volunteers of America of Florida. The reallocation request, along with
TAMPA EPOCH • WWW.TAMPAEPOCH.ORG • 7 a $69,304 request for planning efforts in the community, is still pending approval from HUD. If both these requests are funded, the total award from HUD for renewal and new projects will represent a 7.56 percent increase in HUD funding to our community. The Homeless Coalition also provided an update on the 2013 Homeless Count as well as an upcoming recount during the press conference. “After reviewing the data collected on January 24, 2013, along with observations by volunteers conducting the count on the streets, it became apparent that the numbers did not accurately reflect the true number of homeless men, women and children living on our streets,” said Barcus. “Additionally, the homeless count coincided with the annual Gasparilla celebration and parade.” The Homeless Coalition feels that the data from the street count does not support the observations, indication from service providers about the level of the requests for assistance they’ve documented, and the impact of new rehousing programs. Volunteers on the street reported that many of the homeless camps, where homeless people were known to reside in the weeks leading up to the count, were vacant and in some cases completely gone with “no trespassing” signs erected in the areas. There is indication that the number of homeless people has declined in our community based on providers reporting a slight decrease in requests for assistance, as well as two new federally funded programs to rehouse homeless veterans and their families. The recount effort will focus on a street count as well as emergency shelters and transitional housing.
For more information visit www.homelessofhc.org.
The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County is a 501 (C) 3 organization responsible for establishing and maintaining concentrated strategic efforts to develop long-term constructive solutions that address the underlying causes of homelessness and meet the immediate needs of homeless people. Governed by coalition members, the Coalition promotes collaboration and coordination among social service providers, businesses, funding institutions, housing providers, state and federal agencies, faith-based communities and other supportive organizations and individuals to organize and deliver, without duplication, support services, emergency shelters, transitional housing and affordable housing to meet the specific needs of all homeless people. The Coalition also operates the UNITY Information Network that “virtually” links service providers in Hillsborough County. UNITY offers integrated referrals, creates a base of data to better understand homelessness to plan effective intervention, and shows “real-time” availability of services – all essential to securing funding to meet the level of need within the community. For more information visit www.homelessofhc.org.
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a By Laur
Numerous people believe that those in the homeless community have only themselves to blame for their miserable situation, due to drugs, alcohol, or other poor life choices. Contrary to popular belief, there are a multitude of reasons for homelessness. Substance abuse is actually one of the least likely reasons a person may end up on the streets. Some of the more common ways someone would become homeless may surprise you.
Poverty is one of the world’s most widespread issues and is one of the most common problems among homeless people. Whether poverty strikes due to outstanding amounts of medical bills, job loss, low-income wages, or simply being born into it, falling below the poverty line could result in a family making the streets their home. According to the 2009 Censes Bureau, 14.6% of Floridians were living below the poverty line, and in 2010 that number increased to 16%. The Census Bureau also concluded that the rate of poverty for all types of families in the United States is still increasing. At risk families facing the problem of homelessness are among working single-mother households, working single-father households, and families with both parents present in the household. If
more people continue to fall into this category, then more individuals will be at of becoming homeless.
Another leading cause of homelessness is poor health. For families struggling to make ends meet in order to pay rent, any disability or illness can start a negative slope into poverty. This can begin with job loss, which leads to a decrease in one’s finances, and eventually eviction. These problems have risen as the number of uninsured Americans has rapidly increased. Most people who don’t have health insurance do not have the means to pay for it, but without any insurance coverage, a serious illness or disease could result in overwhelming medical expenses. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by health problems.
One of the lesser-known forms of homelessness stems from child runaways. These young individuals lack parental control and guidance. Unfortunately, the form of structure and love these children long for is usually what leads them to run away from home. Reasons include family
TAMPA EPOCH • WWW.TAMPAEPOCH.ORG • 9 problems, which can involve physical or mental abuse, sexual abuse, and substance abuse of a family member; financial problems such as loss of jobs or a decrease in income; and changes in foster care (transition to different homes). Sometimes the causes for youth runaways are uncontrollable, but once these young individuals are out on the streets, they face many other dangerous risks, including suicide, poor health, and difficulties in school. According to the Conference of State Legislatures, one in seven young people between the ages of ten and eighteen will run away and 75% of homeless and runaway youth will have dropped out of school. Unfortunately, withdrawing from school will only decrease the individual’s chances of ever leaving life on the streets, and in most cases, these decisions lead to a future life of adult homelessness. Fortunately, states have become more aware of this increasing issue and have set different policies in order to ease the various problems amongst the homeless youth. Some of these programs include: • Early intervention and prevention programs: These programs help prevent homelessness for children and teens who are at the verge of living a life on the streets. They offer counseling sessions, rent assistance, and family reconsolidation. • Independent Housing Options: This is a long term housing option that provides the individual with a home, clothing, counseling, and most of the necessary needed daily items. • Intervene with already homeless youth: States have created this program in order to offer job training and educational outreach programs.
Homeless Veteran issues
Another group of individuals who have been struggling with homelessness are U.S. veterans. This population is made up of people who served in various conflicts, including World War II, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. While Vietnam veterans face some of the highest risks of homelessness, due to more recent events, Iraq and Afghanistan fighters have developed numerous severe physical and mental disabilities, which have been connected to homelessness. After battle, many veterans return home with traumatizing psychological effects. These problems are the result of fighting and taking the lives of others while at war. Psychological
issues may take years to accept and overcome, and in some cases, these problems only lead to people having other types of lifetime effects. Other veterans have come home with missing legs or other disabled body parts. This only limits a person and reduces chances of finding a job. This issue is nothing new to the public. It has been a consistent problem amongst veterans for many years now may only increase as more conflict arises. These are just a few causes of homelessness. If we can look past the misconceived perception that homelessness is deserved, then we will begin to reach more understanding and long-term solutions to this widespread problem. It is imperative that people begin to view this community as a collective part of our society. Rather than making negative judgments at first sight, people should educate themselves on the different causes that lead to homelessness. In order to put an end to homelessness, we must prevent people from falling into the downward path that leads them there.
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LaTrasha Freeney, RD LD/N Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County
Free Foods for Women, Infants, and Children who qualify! Have you heard of the WIC program? Did you know that WIC offers food packages that do not need to be refrigerated for homeless clients who are eligible? WIC, which stands for Women, Infants, and Children, is a nutrition program that can help out with free foods that are good for you. If a woman is currently pregnant, breastfeeding a baby less than 12 months old, or postpartum -- which means her last pregnancy ended less than six months ago -- then she may qualify for the WIC program. WIC also serves babies 0-12 months old as well as children under five years old. It is important for people to know that Mom, Dad, or any other family members who have legal custody can bring their children to one of our eight offices to sign up for WIC services. In Hillsborough County, there are offices near Ybor City, the University of South Florida (USF), Brandon, South Tampa (near MacDill Air Force Base), Town and Country, Sulphur Springs, Plant City, and Ruskin. To apply for WIC services, please bring the following for each person applying for WIC:
WIC checks that do not need to be refrigerated such as cereal, whole grains (wheat bread, brown rice, or corn tortillas), 100% fruit juice, fruits and vegetables worth more than $5, canned beans or peanut butter, and milk that does not need to be refrigerated.
• identification • proof of income • proof of residency (example: a letter signed and dated by staff from a homeless shelter you attend) If you are missing any of this information, the WIC program may still be able to help you, so please call to apply. At the WIC office, each client receives education and information about nutrition and affordable healthy food choices as well as checks for free, healthy foods. Clients who are homeless can get healthy foods on their
If WIC can help, please call 813-307-8074 for yourself or your child.
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Sarah O’Dell, a Spring Hill resident, was born with oral facial digital syndrome II, a rare disease that causes malformation of the head, lips, mouth, hands, and feet, and leads to breathing problems, speech problems, and hearing loss. At first, doctors told her parents she wouldn’t live to be more than a week old. Then it was a month. Then three months. Then a year, then three years, and so on, until Sarah proved she was made of stronger stuff than her doctors gave her credit for. She is now 27 years old, has graduated from high school, and is an active participant in ARC and the Special Olympics. Sarah and her family face challenges most people would never need to worry about. When Sarah was born, not much was known about her rare disease. Health insurance didn’t -- and still doesn’t -- cover very much of her medical needs, and over time medical bills piled up, forcing her parents into bankruptcy. From the ages of 3-19, she was a patient at Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, which provided free medical care and braces to help support her weak knees. S a r a h also lives with degenerative bones and missing cartilage in several joins, causing her kneecaps to dislocate every day.
’Del O h a r
Sarah never let her disease hold her back. From a young age, her parents taught her that even though she is handicapped, she is still a normal person. Sarah’s first job was at Burger King, but unfortunately, this was not the right place for her. Other employees regularly made fun of her and
harassed her because of her disability, and after discussing the situation with her parents, she left her job at Burger King to work at the Dawn Center’s consignment and second-hand store. The employees there were much more compassionate a n d working there was an absolute joy for her. When she started, she was mostly doing store upkeep and recovery. Soon, they embraced her personality and her love for toys and baby dolls. She eventually became the “manager” of the children’s section and was put in charge of setting up and displaying the children’s items. This was a great opportunity for her, but sadly, she was let go when the economy went into recession. Unable to find another job, she was forced to live off of disability benefits. Employers are far from eager to hire people with disabilities. In December 2011, the national unemployment rate for disabled people was 13.5%, compared with 8.1% for non-disabled people. Furthermore, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that 42.8% of homeless adults are living with a disability. This is greatly disproportionate to the overall population, in which 17.7% of adults have a disability. Unless we implement either better social programs or work programs for people with disabilities, Sarah O’Dell, and people like her, will always be living perilously close to – or on – the streets. *Photo taken by Sarah’s brother, Jeremy O’Dell, for Polar Plunge 2012 benefitting the Special Olympics.