Homeless to Hopeful—Understanding Homelessness
Raising awareness on an issue affecting thousands of families in the Tampa Bay Area.
Katina Lowrey spoke from the heart and from personal experience at “Homeless to Hopeful,” a seminar at United for Human Rights Florida in downtown Clearwater.
Lowrey’s parents left her and her younger sister on the streets to fend for themselves when she was 14. She turned her life around and by 18 was off the streets in a home of her own.
According to the 2018 homeless count in Hillsborough County, nearly 1,800 men, women and children sleep on the streets, behind buildings, in encampments, in cars, emergency shelters and transitional housing in Tampa-Hillsborough County. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that during the 2015-16 fiscal year, nearly 2,000 were homeless in Pinellas—many of them children.
To reach out to others and raise awareness of this pressing issue, Lowrey founded the Tampa-based nonprofit H.O.P.E.F.U.L. Inc. Its services include hot meals, relocation, clothing and shoes, employment and housing resources, transportation, and a personal “ambassador” who will personally guide people to self-sufficiency. H.O.P.E.F.U.L. receives support from private funders, donations and corporate sponsorship.
“Our mission is to generate hope and solutions for the issues confronting individuals, children, families, and the community as they face homelessness, or are at risk of becoming homeless,” said Lowrey. “We want to be the hope we want to see, support those who are in need, get connected, and stay H.O.P.E.F.U.L.”
Lowrey uses the educational materials of the United for Human Rights (UHR) at H.O.P.E.F.U.L, because homelessness is a violation of article 25 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which includes this clause: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, Leilani Farha, describes homelessness in the world today as a human catastrophe. “The right to housing is not just a rallying cry,” she wrote in an article on the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR). “It, like human rights more generally, offers concrete standards that can be implemented and measured for progress. The results can be transformative and can shift us away from charity toward social justice.”
The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights and its program for young people Youth for Human Rights International. Inspired by humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard who wrote, “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream,” the Church makes these human rights educational materials available free of charge to educators, mentors, community programs and individuals seeking to make this world a better place.
United for Human Rights has grown into a truly grassroots movement—the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education campaign, reaching out in 195 countries in 27 languages and embraced by thousands of activists, officials, groups and organizations.
For more information about UHR Florida, call 727-467-6960.
For more information on the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing visit the OHCHR website. For more information on United for Human Rights, visit HumanRights.com or watch a video on the history of the initiative on Voices for Humanity on the Scientology Network.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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