On February 28, UUSP hosted a neighborhood meeting regarding the homeless situation on our properties. The persistent problems for us and neighbors include littering, urinating, defecating, sleeping, belligerence, and some people feeling unsafe.

Attendees at the meeting were:

Cliff Smith, Manager of Veterans, Social and Homeless Services - City of St. Petersburg
Sgt. Tim Montanari & Officer Rich Linkiewicz - SP Police
Carlos Pid - City Outreach
Joanne Browning - Arlington Management Office Mgr
Paul Burnore, Jack Donovan, Howard Taylor, Reggie Craig - UUSP

Joanne Browning described the situation at Arlington Management. Paul and Jack mentioned some of the problems at UUSP. Cliff Smith said that funding for the homeless is $2M in St Pete and $8M in Pinellas County.

Cliff said that 35% of people homeless is caused by substance abuse, and another 35% is caused by mental health issues, physical health, job loss or economic factors. Sgt Montanari, Officer Linkiewicz, Carlos and Cliff all described various programs used locally to help the homeless. 

Numerous solutions were discussed. The SP Police agreed to add our alley way to their routine police routes, including 5:30 am when problems occur regularly at Arlington Management. They also gave us their 727 phone numbers should we want to call them directly.  

  • Cliff Smith:  893-7627 (office), 698-1809 (cell)
  • Officer Richard Linkiewicz: 441-5103
  • Sgt Montanari:  214-8545

On March 9, our Board of Trustees discussed the meeting and possible solutions. The Board agreed on the following actions, which Howard Taylor, as B&G Chair, will implement. We will monitor and review the results monthly to assess the effectiveness.

  • “No Trespassing” signs should be posted on 4 corners of our parking lot and front lawn. We will include contact information for homeless people to reach out for help. The signs were strongly recommended by the City, SP Police, and Outreach since it gives them the discretion to talk with violators, ask them to leave, offer them alternatives, warn them, or arrest repeat or threatening offenders. Other neighboring churches already do this.
  • Flood lights or replacement of city light in our parking lot to enhance safety and discourage sleeping overnight. 

    We discussed several institutions in the area which serve the homeless: Resurrection House, Safety Harbor Shelter, and Pinellas Hope Shelter. These places have available room for homeless people.

    We also discussed larger ways to help the homeless situation throughout St Pete: provide "tiny houses"; the Eugene, Oregon program where all the local churches provide 2 or 3 small houses for vetted families on church grounds; and the possibility of partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build small houses for vetted homeless families.

    If you are interested in helping with the homeless situation in our neighborhood or St Pete, please contact Reggie Craig or Paul Burnore at UUSP, or the City and Police contacts above.

    Contact: Paul Burnore
    Posted on March 17, 2017, at 8:17pm