By Stephen Thompson LARGO – So far this year, Omar Manthey, a 33-year-old homeless man, has been in and out of the Pinellas County Jail seven times, more often than not because he was caught drinking a can of beer on the streets of St. Petersburg. One of his more recent arrests was on the morning of June 5. Before he was taken into custody, Manthey told a St. Petersburg police officer he had just been released from the jail for the same infraction, according to a police report. That might not happen the next time Manthey is found with beer in public. Beginning today, law enforcement agencies throughout Pinellas County will begin participating in a program designed to stop homeless people from repeatedly returning to the jail on minor charges. These are the so-called “chronics,” homeless people with substantial substance abuse or mental health issues who refuse to takeRead More


by Lyssa Goldberg Jun 2015 Broward And Palm Beach Counties Both Just Banned Panhandling June 24, 2015 — Both Broward and Palm Beach counties approved bans on panhandling Tuesday. In Broward, commissioners unanimously voted to ban vendors and solicitors from 20 of Broward’s busiest intersections. The ban prohibits begging for money, selling items like flowers and newspapers, and even soliciting for charitable donations. In fact, the only hand-to-hand exchanges that can still occur on the street would involve a police officer issuing a traffic citation to a driver. The Broward ordinance states that the county’s aim is to “protect the personal safety … of people using Broward County roadways, both pedestrians and motorists alike.” Meanwhile, solicitors have said they think the county is targeting the homeless community. “I believe they are trying to get the homeless population off the streets,” Gary Richardson, who begs for money at State Road 84Read More


Panhandler and cup in one of America’s richest counties BY CHRIS JOSEPH Earlier this week, Palm Beach County commissioners passed a panhandling ordinance making it illegal for someone to solicit for money or donations from a driver while on a county road. Which means anyone found panhandling will be fined $500 and maybe even see some jail time. But the American Civil Liberties Union of Palm Beach is planning to meet to discuss if any legal action should be taken to put a stop to the ordinance. The ACLU has filed lawsuits over similar ordinances in other states in recent years. In 2013, the ACLU of Michigan sent letters to 84 municipalities across the state notifying them that antibegging ordinances are unconstitutional and should be repealed. In 2014, the ACLU took legal action and filed a lawsuit to block a similar ordinance from being passed in Colorado. Since panhandling isRead More


BY JEFF WEINBERGER WEDNESDAY, JULY 8, 2015 | 4 HOURS AGO An international firestorm erupted last November over Fort Lauderdale’s citing of then-90-year-old Arnold Abbott and the arrests of members of the activist group Food Not Bombs for violating the city’s outdoor food-sharing ordinance that passed October 22 — a measure that was part of a trend of “homeless hate laws” being passed around the country as cities try to crack down on problems associated with homelessness. Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler’s response to the firestorm —  that the city was working with “some 70 churches, [and] some 20 plus organization [that were] all feeding on a regular and daily basis” — was quickly debunked by critics. Even Commissioner Dean Trantalis, who’d been the only commissioner to oppose the ordinance, told Local 10 News, “We can’t keep saying that, you know, there are churches and there are facilities to helpRead More


Early in the year, a focus group was conducted,including only the voices of women. One day I was drinking with a group of homeless friends, when Nature called.I furtively though dutifully took care of my business behind a dumpster. As I was returning to my friends, I wondered what homeless women did when they felt the urge to pee, and the bathrooms were closed. I know a lot of homeless women, and I have heard their stories-some of them abjectly horrible. I have known several women-no exaggeration, who have been raped and beaten and found dead in lakes, abandoned buildings,and in dumpsters. On my way across the street to rejoin my friends,I thought about how women’s voices are sorely  lacking from  conversations about homelessness, People seldom think about women when they think about the homeless. Women are not considered  in much of the planning and development of most shelters, andRead More


NEW PLAN TO MANAGE THE HOMELESS DUMB,SAY HOMELESS 90 year old Arnold Abbott being cited for violating Broward County’s anti food sharing ordinance in Fort Lauderdale Florida.   BY JEFF WEINBERGER New Plan to Manage Homeless Is Dumb, Say Homeless When a coterie of about 15 homeless folk gathered two weeks ago on a balmy Monday evening under the copious canopy of a banyan tree in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the mood, if not quite funereal, was understandably somber. For six years, “the Tree” — located at the site of the long-abandoned city hall and fire station, on NW First Avenue, just north of the Broward Central Bus Terminal — has been well-known among homeless people as a place where they could meet with social workers who would direct them to services like shelters and drug-treatment centers. But on June 1, the Tree was declared off-limits by officials from Broward County,Read More


As we rethink homelessness, after all of our compassionate machinations, and as our ten years  to end homelessness plans take a dirt nap, we find that it all comes down to a test of will. There is an element within our army, within our tactical team, that has a vested interest in homelessness not ending. I think that we all know providers who see the maintenance of homelessness as a career. People make money from the misery of others. They eat for these people, and misrepresent them while they have no reports about any progress on ending homelessness. Indeed, which shelter has contained in it’s mission statement, that our goal is to decrease the numbers of people who enter our shelter? Or, that our goal is to ensure that the homeless have a voice in the conversations that are deciding their fate? I don’t think you’ll find this language inRead More

Rainy Day One

We let the people in this day in late February.We usually let them line up outside,and serve our Saturday breakfast around eight thirty. We usually have close to and two hundred fifty people.We let them in this week to escape the pouring rain.It was a dreary morning.We tried to replace the dreariness with a hot cup of coffee and a sense of community.It is important for people to feel that they belong to something .It is blessed when people feel that they belong to something larger than themselves. People say that our Saturday morning breakfast is the best in town.They don’t realize that we are not just feeding the stomach,We are attempting  to feed the greater part of their spirit.We are attempting to feed the parts of individuals that reach for parity with other people and society as a whole. We attempt to feed the parts of people that graspsRead More