USA Today mentioned our fair city this week in regards to (what else?!) homelessness!
We even make the lede:
In doorways of shops in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., one finds people sleeping and urinating amid piles of filthy blankets and empty bottles.
The article goes to talk about the predictable two-sides of the homeless issue with hum-drum quotes from national homeless advocates and upset business owners. Yawn.
The whole article is really not worth reading, except for a real interesting quote from St. Pete’s Deputy Mayor David Metz talking about the lawsuit over last year’s ordinances against sitting or lying on a sidewalk:
Deputy Mayor David Metz said St. Petersburg altered its laws because of an increase in complaints by businesses and residents about public drunkenness and public nuisances.
Pinellas County’s homeless population has increased 20% in the past two years, according to a homeless coalition. And while Metz acknowledges that there are not enough beds in shelters to accommodate all those who want them (the city says it has 2,200 people living on the streets) he said there’s no reason for them to move onto a sidewalk.
“We are blessed to have (34) public parks in downtown St. Pete, and there’s nothing to prevent any individuals from using those facilities,” Metz said.
Did Metz really just encourage homeless people to sleep in the parks?! Wait ’til the condo dwellers hear this!!!