CLEARWATER - For years, Pinellas County Commissioners have funded initiatives to improve the availability of affordable housing.
And April 26 they moved that mission forward by declaring 67 parcels of vacant county-owned land in the areas of Dansville and Greater Ridgecrest as surplus. The plan is to collaborate with Habitat for Humanity and private developers interested in building workforce housing and help revitalize the neighborhood.
Six parcels are going to Habitat Humanity. County Administrator Mark Woodard said Habitat has made a commitment to have families living on those lots within six months.
CLEARWATER - School’s out for summer June 7. But that’s not exactly good news for all kids.
For some children in Pinellas County, school is a refuge. When school’s not in session, they go hungry. They lose contact with adults watching out for signs of abuse. They lose access to learning resources.
But the Juvenile Welfare Board and its partners are working to make things better, reaching out to children and families year-round.
JWB’s Executive Director Marcie Biddleman updated Pinellas County Commissioners April 26 on some of the programs and initiatives underway to serve children in need, something JWB has done for 70 years now.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners gave unanimous approval April 26 to newly drawn precinct lines that comply with the state legislature’s recent court-ordered special redistricting process.
Pinellas County now has only two U.S. Congressional districts. The former Congressional Districts 12, 13 and 14 are now Districts 12 and 13. Additionally, all three State Senate district boundaries changed and all State Senate districts have new numbers. Former State Senate Districts 16, 19 and 24 are now Districts 19, 20 and 22.
Continued limited rainfall in the north Pinellas County reclaimed water service area has increased customer usage to the point of exhausting the water in storage. Therefore, Pinellas County Utilities must implement additional mandatory reclaimed water restrictions.
Beginning Tuesday, May 3, north county reclaimed water customers who reside north of Curlew Road may water once a week based on house address according to the following schedule:
- Addresses ending in 0, 1 or 2 may irrigate on Tuesday
ST. PETERSBURG - Community Action Stops Abuse, or CASA, opened a $12 million, 100-bed center in June 2015 to provide housing and services for domestic violence victims. Within a month or so, the beds were full.
“We are not only filling the beds, but we are still turning away people that need help. So the need is great. What we are providing is a great service. Women, children and men still need a safe harbor,” said Shandra Riffey, executive director of CASA, based in St. Petersburg.
ST. PETERSBURG - Cynthia Burnham’s job is to provide shelter for up to 50 women. But don’t call the program she directs a “shelter.”
“Shelter to me means emergency, crisis. Short, very short-term. Maybe overnight,” she said.
She prefers “residence,” even though most homes don’t have two-dozen bedrooms or a dining room the size of a small cafeteria.
“A residence provides safety, so all our policies and procedures are based on the idea we want to provide a safe environment,” she said. “Coming home and being home by 11 o’clock leads to safety rather than being out at 3 o’clock in the morning.”
BELLEAIR - Donna Sharpless had only a few more minutes as president of the North Pinellas County League of Women Voters - a leading position in a historical organization - as the league met for its 67th annual business meeting April 9.
The organization was about to hold elections for new board and committee members at the Belleair Country Club.
The movement that became a national organization began around 1919 with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. During a convention in Missouri, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the formation of a “league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation,” according to the North Pinellas County League’s website.
Be sure to tune in to the No Place Like Home radio show Thursday, May 5. The Home Ownership for People Everywhere (HOPE) Expo will be the featured topic on the program, sponsored by the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County.
The radio show airs the first Thursday of each month from 10:05 to 10:35 a.m. on WRXB 1590 AM. Viewers can also watch the program on Pinellas County Connection Television, YouTube or at www.pinellascounty.org/hfa/media.htm.
The HOPE Expo is in its 25th year and includes exhibitors representing lenders, real estate agents, credit counselors and agents from non-profit down payment assistance programs. The expo is made possible by a collaborative effort between area non-profit and government agencies, lenders and Realtors.