Homeless Camp Leads to Crisis

This is an interesting example of how unconventional methods seem to be getting a response. they did the same protest in Paris. What are your thoughts?

Tent City Brings Homeless to Forefront
12/30/2006 | St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
City Orders Closure of Camp
01/05/2007 | St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

Camp Makes Officials Focus on Homeless Needs
01/06/2007 | St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

Protesters Object to Pending Camp Closure
01/08/2007 | St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

The appearance of a “tent city” in St. Petersburg, Fla., has brought homelessness to center stage, according to a series of articles in the St. Petersburg Times. Unlike such cities as Seattle and Ventura, Calif., which have seasonal or permanent tent cities for the homeless, St. Petersburg is grappling with how to handle its first “tent situation,” the Times reported. The issue emerged in December when church groups distributed tents to homeless people. Tent dwellers first clustered under a highway overpass and then, thanks to the efforts of a local minister, relocated to a lot owned by the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Although the number of homeless people has not increased, the tent city’s visible manifestation of homelessness has led the city and Pinellas County to declare St. Petersburg’s homeless situation a “crisis,” the Times reported.

Citing code violations, St. Petersburg officials have set a Jan. 12 deadline to evict the camp’s 140-plus inhabitants. But social workers have also been dispatched to help camp residents access rental vouchers, disability assistance, or bus tickets if they can be reunited with family or friends elsewhere. Additionally, the city is seeking temporary sites to house the residents as well as a building to use as a permanent homeless shelter, given the current shortage of shelter beds. One city council member is leading a call for shelters that would allow people to stay long enough to save money toward their own apartments. According to another council member, the controversy surrounding the tent city has generated a positive outcome in the form of city resolve to address the needs of the homeless.