St. Petersburg, FL – July 28, 2014 – “Helping the Most Vulnerable in the Homeless Population” will be the theme of Rhonda Abbott’s presentation to a community forum on homelessness to be held onSaturday, August 16, 2014, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon at the Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg, 719 Arlington Avenue North (across from Mirror Lake), St. Petersburg.
This Community Forum is part of an ongoing series of public meetings presented by Celebrate Outreach, Inc., a St. Petersburg-area faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in this area. The monthly meeting series is designed to educate the public about the various issues surrounding homelessness.
The most vulnerable segments of Pinellas County’s homeless population include families with minor children, chronically homeless adults with a disabling condition such as drug or alcohol addiction or untreated mental illness, and homeless youth who have run away from home or aged out of foster care. Often times, it is difficult to reach and assist people in these conditions because of their often unwarranted fear of being discovered and facing unwanted, punitive involvement of authorities such as Child Protective Services or local law enforcement officers. Thus, these persons stay hidden and do not receive the stabilizing help they need.
As a result, the number of people in these situations continues to grow, and they are becoming increasingly vulnerable to higher mortality rates, worsening health outcomes, and continuing street violence and threat of sexual abuse and exploitation. It is estimated that 42% of the nearly 6,000 homeless persons in Pinellas County are children under age 18, 22% of street homeless persons between the ages 18 and 24 had been in foster care, and 74% of all the county’s homeless reported having a disabling condition that impaired their physical, mental or social functioning, according to this year’s Point-In-Time homeless count conducted by the Homeless Leadership Board of Pinellas County.
Prior to assuming her current post as CEO of the Homeless Leadership Board of Pinellas County, Ms. Abbott served as an Associate Vice President at United Way Suncoast, and Manager of Veterans, Social and Homeless Services in the St. Petersburg Mayor’s Office during the administrations of Rick Baker and Bill Foster.
The public is invited to attend this Community Meeting. This meeting will be especially beneficial to homeless service providers, social workers, clergy, police officers, teachers, and others who work directly with this segment of our community. The event is free, and refreshments will be provided. Seating is limited, so interested persons are encouraged to pre-register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is free off-street parking, and the facility is handicap accessible.
Celebrate Outreach is a partnership of St. Petersburg-area faith-based congregations and individuals which is dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in our area through social justice, advocacy, community education and direct service. Founded in 2007, this nonpartisan, grassroots, volunteer-run organization is dedicated to treating all members of our community with dignity, and working with those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness to the end that they are liberated from homelessness, hunger, violence, discrimination and injustice.
Celebrate Outreach also serves free hot meals indoors each weekend to hungry and homeless persons in the downtown St. Petersburg area, conducts annual homeless persons’ memorial services, and reaches out to business and nonprofit partners to create affordable housing.
For further information about the Community Forum and Celebrate Outreach, please visit www.celebrateoutreach.org.