Flap Ends Over Tent City

tent city
TAMPA (2009-10-13) -

A proposed tent city in Tampa was rejected today in a split vote by Hillsborough County Commissioners.

The tent city would have housed up to 250 homeless adults for three months at a time. It was proposed by Catholic Charities, on land owned by the Diocese of St. Petersburg. Backers said it was needed to keep the homeless from sleeping in vacant lots around town.

Attorney Judy James represents Catholic Charities.

"It is without question that this is an opportunity to bring our homeless services and service providers to collaborate and open this discussion," she said, "on how to create change and service our most vulnerable populations."

But a vocal group of people living in the East Lake neighborhood off Hillsborough Avenue persuaded Hillsborough County commissioners to reject a rezoning request for four years. Hal Hart represented the opposition.

"We will not accept tents," he said. "We will not accept this project. We will not partner with them."

Many of the potential neighbors expressed concerns about crime and loitering. A majority of county commissioners agreed, voting 4 to 3 to reject the rezoning.

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