Homeless Coalition Launches Awareness Campaign
TAMPA, Fla. – (Monday, September 24, 2007) - Mother. Minister. High school student. Technical engineer. Accounting professional. Not words you would expect to describe a homeless person? The reality is that homeless people come from all backgrounds, occupations, situations, and walks of life.
On Thursday, September 27, the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County will launch its new public awareness campaign, "Unexpected Faces, Unexpected Places," on the steps of the Old Federal Courthouse, 611 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, at 9:30 a.m.
"The biggest challenge we face in expanding the community’s capacity to help our homeless neighbors are the myths and misperception about who is homeless and the reason they become homeless," said Rayme L. Nuckles, CEO of the Homeless Coalition. "These misperceptions not only keep people from helping our homeless neighbors, it dehumanizes homeless people and seems to justify exploitation of, and violence against, them."
A multi-media public awareness campaign, "Unexpected Faces, Unexpected Places," features actual people who have been, or are currently, homeless, and their unique, personal experiences. Their stories are told through print ads, billboards, a Web site (www.unexpectedfaces.org), and the Brown Bag Project, a traveling art exhibition. Broadcast public service announcements, which are in development, will also be part of the campaign. Though the campaign is officially being launched on September 27, not all the campaign elements will be implemented right away.
"Homeless men, women and children are not necessarily living in the places you may think," said Nuckles. "To emphasize this fact, today you see the Brown Bag Project, and a couple of months from now you may see or hear a public service announcement, then a billboard. It is designed to emphasize the unexpectedness and randomness of homelessness."
"Unexpected Faces, Unexpected Places" was developed by the Taylor Company, a Tampa-based public relations firm owned by Florida native Scott Taylor. Specializing in cause and issues-based public relations campaigns primarily for non-profit organizations, the Taylor Company is a perfect fit for this project.
The launch event will include comments from Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, Dr. Larry Carey, president of the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, community leaders and two of the people featured in the campaign. The Brown Bag Project will also be on display.
This event is open to the public.
About the Unexpected Faces, Unexpected Places Campaign
About the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County
The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County is a 501 (C) 3 organization responsible for establishing and maintaining concentrated strategic efforts to develop long-term constructive solutions that address the underlying causes of homelessness and meet the immediate needs of homeless people. Governed by coalition members, the Coalition promotes collaboration and coordination among social service providers, businesses, funding institutions, housing providers, state and federal agencies, faith-based communities and other supportive organizations and individuals to organize and deliver, without duplication, support services, emergency shelters, transitional housing and affordable housing to meet the specific needs of all homeless people. The Coalition also operates the UNITY Information Network that "virtually" links service providers in Hillsborough County. UNITY offers integrated referrals, creates a base of data to better understand homelessness to plan effective intervention, and shows "real-time" availability of services – all essential to securing funding to meet the level of need within the community. For more information visit www.homelessofhc.org.
The Homeless Coalition gratefully acknowledges the support of all those without whom this project would not have been possible, including its member agencies and, especially the individuals and families who shared their stories with us.