FAST lobbies for dedicated affordable housing money

June 5, 2017. Tampa Bay Newspapers.

CLEARWATER – Several members of Faith and Action for Strength Together spoke to Pinellas County Commissioners May 23 about the critical need for affordable housing.

The faith-based organization made up of 40 local church congregations, better known as FAST, has long urged the commission to spend more money to increase the county’s inventory of affordable housing. The group’s efforts have been fruitful in past years with the commission agreeing to place millions of dollars from Penny for Pinellas in an affordable housing land assembly fund. Unfortunately, not all the money pledged made it into that fund thanks to the economic downturn and budget cuts.

FAST wants more Penny for Pinellas tax money spent on affordable housing

April 24, 2017. Tampa Bay Times.

ST. PETERSBURG — City and county officials were asked to commit millions of dollars of sales tax revenues to build more affordable housing in Pinellas during a gathering of about 3,000 people Monday night at Tropicana Field.

 

 The program was the latest effort by a group of religious congregations called FAST, with the motto “Faith and Action for Strength Together,” to get local governments to spend more money to secure housing for the county’s poorer residents.

Religious leaders in Pinellas County want to end school to prison cycle

April 3, 2017. FOX 13 News.

CLEARWATER – A group of religious leaders in Pinellas County says arrests, even for minor crimes, can ruin kids’ futures.

They want to end the cycle before it’s too late, starting in the classroom.

Lorenzo Arscott says it took just one arrest to steal his son’s future.

Should first-time juvenile offenders receive citation instead of arrest?

March 20, 2017. News4Jax.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Under some new legislation moving through the state Senate, first-time misdemeanor offenders under the age of 18 would receive a civil citation instead of an arrest record, but Florida’s sheriffs and police chiefs are pushing back on the idea.

As is outlined in the Senate bill, police would be required to issue civil citations to first-time juvenile misdemeanor offenders for 11 crimes.

Pinellas group calls for local representative’s support of youth citation bill

March 2, 2017. Tampa Bay Times. 

PALM HARBOR — At 26, Samantha Hernandez still remembers her 12-year-old self perusing the jewelry section of the Beall’s store in Lehigh Acres and spotting the $8 necklace with its fake sparkly diamonds.

She says she had the money and wanted to buy it. But an employee approached Hernandez and told her to leave. As she and a friend stepped outside, Hernandez realized she still had the necklace.