Homeless find storage and more in The Locker Project. So why can’t it open?

Celebrate Outreach! is a conglomeration of Tampa Bay churches whose mission is, “preventing and ending homelessness in our area through social justice, advocacy, community education and direct service.” The partnership is responsible for organizing a popular Friday night meal, Saturday morning breakfast, the initiation of cold-shelters and, most recently, The Locker Project.

On January 24th, 2008, the City of St. Petersburg passed an ordinance stating that any personal property, “including clothing, bedding, materials, equipment, furnishings, furniture, appliances, construction materials, or any items which are not designated to be used outdoors,” cannot be stored on public property or on public rights-of-way. Furthermore, if a person violates this ordinance, regardless of their access—or lack, thereof—to storage space, that person’s belongings can be confiscated and stored in a City-owned trailer for up to thirty days, and then disposed of. This ordinance is listed on the City of St. Petersburg’s website under the heading, “Ordinances & Laws Regarding Homelessness,” and is accompanied by three other ordinances written into the City code since March 2007 regarding St. Petersburg’s approach to ‘cleaning up’ the problem of homelessness in the Downtown Center.