Faith groups ask for affordable housing and criminal justice reform

March 29, 2019. 88.5 WMNF

A coalition of faith-based groups will gather on Monday to ask Hillsborough County leaders to solve problems of affordable housing and criminal justice in the county.

The Hillsborough Organization for Progress & Equality, or HOPE, is hosting what it calls its ‘Nehemiah Action.’ About 1400 participants are expected.

Hillsborough’s Housing Crunch: Searching For Solutions

December 16, 2018. WUSF News.

Back in October, hundreds of Hillsborough County residents packed the pews of Tampa’s First Seventh Day Adventist Church.

It was an interfaith gathering of congregations, all members of the Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality (HOPE). People chatted and a choir led the group in singing hymns, but before too long, they got down to business.

Interfaith Group Gets Commitments On Affordable Housing, Civil Citations

April 17, 2018. WUSF News.

Elected leaders in Hillsborough County were in the hot seat Monday night, asked to commit on the spot to action on community issues.

More than 1,000 members of the interfaith group Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality (HOPE) asked officials for commitments on expanding the civil citation program, creating a local affordable housing trust fund and increased funding for elder care services. The event was part of the groups 2018 Nehemiah Action.

When asked, Hillsborough public defender Julianne Holt, Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta and State Attorney Andrew Warren said they will support extending the county’s civil citation program to include second and third misdemeanor offenses by minors.

Rents rising in Tampa Bay, more quickly than national average

March 21, 2018. ABC Action News.

Rents are on the rise in the Tampa Bay Area, and rising much more quickly than the national average.

According to the latest report by RENTCafe, a nationwide internet listing service for housing rental units, St. Petersburg leads the Tampa Bay Area with the highest rental spike, up 7.1% since last year.

St. Pete was top 20 in the country for that high of a percentage change; Orlando led the state of Florida with a 7.8% price increase.

For kids seeking second chances, Pinellas a better place to be than Hillsborough, study shows

October 27, 2017. TBO.

When it comes to second chances, one side of Tampa Bay is a better place to be a kid in trouble than the other.

That’s according to a report released this week grading Florida counties on how often they use juvenile diversion programs, which send low-level offenders through counseling and community service as an alternative to arrest.

The “Stepping Up” report — conducted by a St. Petersburg think tank and supported by organizations including the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and The James Madison Institute — named Pinellas County one of the top programs in the state with a 94 percent utilization rate between January and December last year, tied for first with Miami-Dade.