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Letters to the Editors

Homeless need grant aid

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 25, 2001


Editor: Representing the Homeless Coalition of Pasco County, I would like to respond to recent articles, editorials and letters to the editor in order to clarify some misunderstandings.

The coalition is a private, not-for-profit, volunteer organization made up of many individuals, most, but not all representing providers of services to the homeless. We all have full-time jobs but volunteer our time as advocates for the homeless services. We have no paid staff and no dedicated funding stream, although we have sought grant funding. We resent being characterized by your paper as a group in "disarray." We struggle to do the best we can with the resources available.

Your paper's unfortunate characterization caused one misinformed letter writer to demand to know who funded the coalition. That very question manifests the writer's ignorance of the realities facing the coalition.

For the record, may we note further that the writer of that letter has never attended a coalition meeting, never helped us in the field to survey the extent of local homelessness, never helped us distribute food, clothing and personal items to local homeless persons and never volunteered on behalf of any of the local service providers.

How easy it is to criticize others. How self-righteous one can become, waiting for others to "fix" the problem.

The coalition meets on the fourth Thursday of each month, usually at the Bethel Baptist Church just north of State Road 52. Anyone is welcome to attend. Anyone who wishes to help will find ample opportunity.

Your reporter, Ryan Davis, is one who frequently attends our meetings. We are delighted to have this publicity and, in general, have been gratified by his accurate portrayal of homelessness in Pasco County. Mr. Davis, however, has never written an article of this sort without highlighting the fact that Pasco County is the largest county in Florida to have never applied for so-called "Super-NOFA," federal grant money. While true, this statement is misleading in omitting context; specifically, only 22 of Florida's 67 counties have received this funding, all of them being the largest counties with large metropolitan areas, staggering problems of homelessness and resources for professional grant writing. Pasco County has no such resources to commit to the daunting task of applying to the "Super-NOFA."

It is for this reason that we were gratified by the Times editorial endorsing Rep. Heather Fiorentino's bill that among other things would make available to local groups the funding to hire a grant writer who could take the lead in putting together the many and technically detailed documents that comprise a competitive "Super-NOFA" application.

This, not finger-pointing and mindless criticism, can enable Pasco County to bringmuch needed services to bear on the problem of homelessness.
-- Rev. David J. Barzelay, chairman, Pasco Homeless Coalition

Tired of seeing drug ads on TV

Editor: I was just wondering where all the money is coming from for all the pharmaceutical ads on TV?

I counted in one evening at least nine ads, namely Zoloft, Lipitor, Serevant, Flonase, Pedia-sure, Flovent, Imitrex, Celebrex and Claritin, all with side-effect warnings.

We all know the high cost of TV ads, and wouldn't it benefit the consumer who has to use these drugs to lower the costs and do away with these ads?

The TV ads require you to consult your doctor before using these drugs, which means a doctor's visit.

I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing these ads on TV, especially when many listeners don't need any drugs. And if they do, they don't need the TV to tell them; their doctor will.
-- Alice McConaghy, New Port Richey

Share your views

The Pasco Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length (250-300 words maximum as a rule).

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address and telephone number. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed. Anonymous letters or letters with initials only will not be printed.

Send your letter to Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668.

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