New service center for homeless in Hillsborough

Posted at 6:35 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 18:35:05-04
James Markley spent the beginning of 2016 living on the streets.
"I remember one night where it was extremely cold the weather wasn't good out there, so they helped me find a place," said Markley.
A few Hillsborough County deputies found Markley and got him a temporary place to live along with health services.  
It was just a matter of connecting him with the right people, which is a goal of the new social services center.  
HCSO's Homeless Initiative Community Outreach Center will be staffed with deputies and social service workers.
"There's everything from temporary housing to vouchers for bus fares.  We are going to work, not to give them a band aid, but to try to fix the problem," said Col. Greg Brown.
There are approximately 2,000 homeless people on the streets of Hillsborough County.  
Deputies said they have helped about 500 since 2010.
"It's a quality of life issue. I don't think anyone should have to roll their window up, because someone is panhandling," said Lt. Brown.
The center located at 3671 W. Waters Ave. is now open for the homeless and for people to volunteer.
"I would be either permanently in a hospital or found dead on the street.  They actually saved my life by doing this for me," said Markley.