[Hpn] Homeless Camp Is At Capacity

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Sun, 30 Dec 2007 06:19:05 -0500


This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

------=_NextPart_000_0024_01C84AAB.E0E8DF00
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Hope Full: Homeless Camp Is At Capacity
http://www2.tbo.com:80/content/2007/dec/30/me-hope-full-homeless-camp-is-=
at-capacity/?news-breaking
By MIKE WELLS, The Tampa Tribune

Published: December 30, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG - One month after it opened, Pinellas Hope, a 10-acre =
campsite serving the homeless, has reached capacity. As of Friday, 225 =
tents served as temporary lodging for 243 people. Some are couples.

People are being fed, given medical care and are being shown =
opportunities for employment and training.

Pinellas Hope is a $1 million pilot project funded by Pinellas County, =
the city of St. Petersburg and retired businessman Harry Stonecipher. =
The project is coordinated and administered by Catholic Charities of St. =
Petersburg on land donated by the Catholic Diocese on 126th Avenue, west =
of 49th Street North in mid-Pinellas County.

With the camp at capacity, new residents are accepted only on Fridays to =
fill vacancies, said Sheila Lopez, chief operating officer of Catholic =
Charities.

On Saturday, Lopez walked briskly over the pine-needle-covered paths =
between the tents and trees. She called out to several residents by =
name, telling them she loves them.

"This is my passion," the 68-year-old said. "Helping people."

Guests are issued a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, personal storage =
locker and a bag for belongings.

Camp residents are running things alongside the volunteers, from =
maintenance to food preparation.

They have to volunteer five hours a week at the camp, Lopez said. "But I =
have some in the kitchen who volunteer 40 hours, and they love it."

Johnny Ptarcinski, 54, arrived at the camp Friday after spending 15 =
years in St. Thomas, he said. Last week, a St. Petersburg police officer =
approached him in a park and asked if he was homeless.

After running a background check on Ptarcinski, the officer offered to =
drive him to the camp Friday, he said.

The former New York resident is looking for work as an auto body repair =
specialist.

"I went to 30 body shops when I got here," he said. "Everybody said =
there was no work. Once they find out you're homeless, you're a marked =
man."

He likes the camp and feels safe there while he looks for work, =
Ptarcinski said.

"Anything beats sleeping on the streets," he said.

The fenced camp is clean, orderly and peaceful.

"It's wonderful," David Newman said.

The 41-year-old electrician and his girlfriend, Vonda Morris, 42, =
arrived at the camp three weeks ago from Tennessee. They've stayed in =
other camps and shelters and said they were concerned about a lack of =
privacy.

"It's a lot better," Newman said. "You have your own space. It's not =
everybody crowded on top of one another."

The organizers provide one meal a day - dinner.

Sixty percent of the residents live there because of economic reasons, =
Lopez said. Many are carpenters and electricians suffering from decline =
in the construction industry.

Counseling and medical care are provided along with day labor options. =
The goal is to help people transition into self-sufficiency.

There are 10 p.m. weekday and midnight weekend curfews. Residents voted =
to ban drinking and drug use. Bags are searched at the gate as they come =
in.

For some, it isn't easy to follow rules, Lopez said. About 35 people =
have left the camp since it opened.

"Some have gone because they have been placed" in a permanent home, she =
said. "And some are gone because they wanted to go or because they were =
drinking - and I don't tolerate that."

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has contracted with the diocese to =
patrol the area daily, said sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. =
Deputies assist the staff, if necessary, with enforcing the camp's =
rules.

The camp will remain open through April 30, Lopez said. In 60 days, =
organizers will determine whether it's affordable to maintain the camp =
afterward.

Lopez said residents are prepared for a cold snap. Their sleeping bags =
are certified to protect to 20 degrees below zero and they received =
donations of sweaters, jackets, socks and underwear on Christmas.

"Santa Claus was very busy this year," she said.

Reporter Steve Kornacki contributed to this report. Reporter Mike Wells =
can be reached at (813) 259-7839 or mwells@ tampatrib.com.



------=_NextPart_000_0024_01C84AAB.E0E8DF00
Content-Type: text/html;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<HTML><HEAD>
<META http-equiv=3DContent-Type content=3D"text/html; =
charset=3Diso-8859-1">
<META content=3D"MSHTML 6.00.6000.16587" name=3DGENERATOR>
<STYLE></STYLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV>
<H2>Hope Full: Homeless Camp Is At Capacity</H2><!-- subhead ??=0A=
=0A=
--><!--startclickprintexclude--><!-- lhsrail -->
<DIV id=3Dlhsrail>
<DIV class=3Doas><!-- RIGHT2 AD POSITION -->
<SCRIPT language=3DJavaScript>=0A=
        <!--=0A=
        =
DisplayOasAd("Top,Top1,Top2,TopRight,Left,Left3,Right,Right2,Bottom,Posit=
ion1,Position2,x01,x02,x03,x04!Right2");=0A=
        // -->=0A=
        </SCRIPT>

<SCRIPT language=3DJavaScript1.1=20
src=3D"http://ads.mgnetwork.com/adstream_jx.ads/www.tbo.com/news/story.ht=
m/1681916485@Top,Top1,Top2,TopRight,Left,Left3,Right,Right2,Bottom,Positi=
on1,Position2,x01,x02,x03,x04!Right2"></SCRIPT>
<NOSCRIPT><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www2.tbo.com:80/content/2007/dec/30/me-hope-full-homeless-=
camp-is-at-capacity/?news-breaking">http://www2.tbo.com:80/content/2007/d=
ec/30/me-hope-full-homeless-camp-is-at-capacity/?news-breaking</A></FONT>=
</NOSCRIPT><!-- /RIGHT2 AD POSITION =
--></DIV></DIV><!--endclickprintexclude--><!-- Start Article -->
<DIV id=3Dcontentwell>
<P class=3Dbyline1>By MIKE WELLS, The Tampa Tribune</P>
<P class=3Dpubdate>Published: December 30, 2007</P><A =
name=3Dcontent1></A>
<P>ST. PETERSBURG - One month after it opened, Pinellas Hope, a 10-acre =
campsite=20
serving the homeless, has reached capacity. As of Friday, 225 tents =
served as=20
temporary lodging for 243 people. Some are couples.</P>
<P>People are being fed, given medical care and are being shown =
opportunities=20
for employment and training.</P>
<P>Pinellas Hope is a $1 million pilot project funded by Pinellas =
County, the=20
city of St. Petersburg and retired businessman Harry Stonecipher. The =
project is=20
coordinated and administered by Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg on =
land=20
donated by the Catholic Diocese on 126th Avenue, west of 49th Street =
North in=20
mid-Pinellas County.</P>
<P>With the camp at capacity, new residents are accepted only on Fridays =
to fill=20
vacancies, said Sheila Lopez, chief operating officer of Catholic =
Charities.</P>
<P>On Saturday, Lopez walked briskly over the pine-needle-covered paths =
between=20
the tents and trees. She called out to several residents by name, =
telling them=20
she loves them.</P>
<P>"This is my passion," the 68-year-old said. "Helping people."</P>
<P>Guests are issued a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, personal =
storage locker=20
and a bag for belongings.</P>
<P>Camp residents are running things alongside the volunteers, from =
maintenance=20
to food preparation.</P>
<P>They have to volunteer five hours a week at the camp, Lopez said. =
"But I have=20
some in the kitchen who volunteer 40 hours, and they love it."</P>
<P>Johnny Ptarcinski, 54, arrived at the camp Friday after spending 15 =
years in=20
St. Thomas, he said. Last week, a St. Petersburg police officer =
approached him=20
in a park and asked if he was homeless.</P>
<P>After running a background check on Ptarcinski, the officer offered =
to drive=20
him to the camp Friday, he said.</P>
<P>The former New York resident is looking for work as an auto body =
repair=20
specialist.</P>
<P>"I went to 30 body shops when I got here," he said. "Everybody said =
there was=20
no work. Once they find out you're homeless, you're a marked man."</P>
<P>He likes the camp and feels safe there while he looks for work, =
Ptarcinski=20
said.</P>
<P>"Anything beats sleeping on the streets," he said.</P>
<P>The fenced camp is clean, orderly and peaceful.</P>
<P>"It's wonderful," David Newman said.</P>
<P>The 41-year-old electrician and his girlfriend, Vonda Morris, 42, =
arrived at=20
the camp three weeks ago from Tennessee. They've stayed in other camps =
and=20
shelters and said they were concerned about a lack of privacy.</P>
<P>"It's a lot better," Newman said. "You have your own space. It's not=20
everybody crowded on top of one another."</P>
<P>The organizers provide one meal a day - dinner.</P>
<P>Sixty percent of the residents live there because of economic =
reasons, Lopez=20
said. Many are carpenters and electricians suffering from decline in the =

construction industry.</P>
<P>Counseling and medical care are provided along with day labor =
options. The=20
goal is to help people transition into self-sufficiency.</P>
<P>There are 10 p.m. weekday and midnight weekend curfews. Residents =
voted to=20
ban drinking and drug use. Bags are searched at the gate as they come =
in.</P>
<P>For some, it isn't easy to follow rules, Lopez said. About 35 people =
have=20
left the camp since it opened.</P>
<P>"Some have gone because they have been placed" in a permanent home, =
she said.=20
"And some are gone because they wanted to go or because they were =
drinking - and=20
I don't tolerate that."</P>
<P>The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has contracted with the diocese =
to=20
patrol the area daily, said sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha. =
Deputies=20
assist the staff, if necessary, with enforcing the camp's rules.</P>
<P>The camp will remain open through April 30, Lopez said. In 60 days,=20
organizers will determine whether it's affordable to maintain the camp=20
afterward.</P>
<P>Lopez said residents are prepared for a cold snap. Their sleeping =
bags are=20
certified to protect to 20 degrees below zero and they received =
donations of=20
sweaters, jackets, socks and underwear on Christmas.</P>
<P>"Santa Claus was very busy this year," she said.</P>
<P class=3Dbold>Reporter Steve Kornacki contributed to this report. =
Reporter Mike=20
Wells can be reached at (813) 259-7839 or mwells@ =
tampatrib.com.</P><!--endclickprintinclude--><!-- COMMENTS =
--></DIV></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><BR></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

------=_NextPart_000_0024_01C84AAB.E0E8DF00--