HOPE Nehemiah Action

HOPE Nehemiah Action

Many thanks to everyone who joined us last night and worked so hard to get other people involved in bringing HOPE to Hillsborough County!  We had 18 of our Wesley family and friends attend in person and enjoy the fellowship of 1,200 other believers seeking justice at the Nehemiah Action.  

We heard Hillsborough County Commissioner Harry Cohen pledge his agreement to work toward coordinating county staff and mental health and housing providers to add 100 units of Permanent Supportive Housing each year for the next five years.  Commissioner Cohen agreed to continue meeting with HOPE leadership to keep us updated on this critical project. We can attend the BOCC meetings when this proposal is discussed to show our support. 

We also heard Tampa City Council Members Luis Viera and Guido Maniscalco pledge to support the completion of conceptual designs for five stormwater ponds in East Tampa and to improve those ponds this year with native trees and plants, which has been proven to reduce flooding and mitigate the impairment of water quality in our bays and rivers. They also agreed to take action to secure the inclusion of green infrastructure principles in the city’s Stormwater Design Manual for future ponds.  

We still have a ways to go toward our goal of having non-dangerous driving offenses, such as driving with a suspended license, included as eligible for the Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion program, which currently excludes all traffic offenses. The APAD program has been shown to reduce recidivism and save taxpayer money while still holding offenders accountable without the lifelong consequences of a formal arrest. Chief Judge Ron Ficarrotta and a representative from Public Defender Julianne Holt’s office both spoke in support of the measure to expand the APAD program to include driving with a suspended license, and to institute both jail and notice-to-appear screenings to assist in determining eligibility before an arrest is made. However, there is little they can do as the expansion of APAD and initiating pre-arrest screenings can only be accomplished by law enforcement officials.  While Tampa Police Captain Rojka agreed to continue to “study” the issues, Hillsborough Sheriff Chronsiter continues to refuse to meet with HOPE leaders to discuss our concerns and would not even send a representative to the Nehemiah Action.  

You can see more pictures of the evening here!