Miller Charmaine

Charmaine's adventures in news writing and editing

Story Pitch 8

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I had two story pitches for the week:

Coalition members travel to Atlanta for GCI plans inspiration

First, I was a little disappointed with my “baby,” the story about the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry’s trip to Atlanta to get ideas for transforming the Gainesville Correctional Institution into a homeless shelter. It ended up being a one-source story. And the angle we wanted the get at, the coalition’s Atlanta trip, was not so apparent in the headline and lede. I should have communicated that better to the 4201 student.

I would have also contacted a source named Randy Wells. He is a city commissioner spearheading this project. His website has the following contact info:

352-318-9410 or Randy@RandyWells.org

And Facebook says: 352 334 5015 or WellsRM@CityofGainesville.org

Questions: What in Atlanta stood out as helpful for the GCI project in Gainesville? What will it take (time, resources,manpower) to transform the former jail to a homeless shelter? What specific services do you hope to provide at the new center? How will homeless people be able to get to the center? What major challenges have been presented? How long has this idea been talked about?

This story ended up getting published!

Results of the annual Point-in-Time homelessness survey

I was waiting for Theresa Lowe to get back from Atlanta (on Wednesday) to get at the findings of the annual Point-in-Time homeless census the coalition took last month. Both WUFT and the Alligator reported on the survey day but neither reported on the results of the census-taking.

Lowe has stepped up to the executive director position in the coalition within the last month or so. She is also the director of the County Office on Homelessness. She is obviously a wealth of knowledge.

Theresa Lowe 352-372-2549

The census results are important information because with these numbers, the county can ask the government for the appropriate amount of funding to help the area’s homeless members.  I would like to find out if funding for help in this area comes from the state or federal government. We need actual numbers. Some statistics that I scrawled down in a coalition meeting last Wednesday and can be used as a reference are:

There are 995 unsheltered people in Alachua County.

There are 814 sometimes sheltered people in Alachua County. (These people are able to sometimes utilize the services of St. Francis House or other transitional living facilities.)

There are 475 children in the Alachua County school system that have been identified based on need. (Really look into this one, I didn’t totally hear what this number was about.)

The county is getting more homeless veterans housed compared to last year.

Questions: Is a full report of the census being released/when? How did the findings differ from years past? What were some notable or key findings? What will be most useful in garnering government support? Is there a timeline/how much time does it take to properly allocate funds resulting from the survey findings? What are the demographics of the people surveyed? What kinds of questions did the surveys ask?

I hate to one-source this story, but my mind is drying up on other useful contacts. Lowe may have suggestions for people who might have information to add. She will be a great source. Also, I know the coalition is applying for grants from Housing and Urban Development. It’s a stretch, but here is the contact info pulled from the HUD website:

If you are a member of the media and would like to submit a request for an interview with a HUD Principal or Program Specialist call 202-708-0980

This story was published! And TV put together a package for it!

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Written by charmainemiller

February 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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