If there’s one thing you can gauge right off the bat by talking to Sara Romeo, Executive Director of Tampa Crossroads; it is her passion about what she believes in. She’s soft-spoken, but her words have great impact on those around her. She’s determined, and that spirit is contagious throughout the community.
Romeo began working with Tampa Crossroads after leaving the State House, where she worked as a Legislator. She said she had known of the program beforehand, and was aware of some of the good work that they were doing in the community, so she accepted a job offer as their Finance Director. Her desire to help out her neighbors and families in our community is something that her parents instilled in her.
“I don’t think that our community can be better than the least among us, so I am always stretching to assist those who just need a hand up,” Romeo said.
She believes that so many people fall through the proverbial cracks for the most minor issues, and that often, they just need a little boost, to be able to live safely and continue to care for their families.
“It is truly a pleasure to see families with renewed skills, confidence in themselves, and stability with their families,” Romeo said, citing advocating for those less fortunate as her greatest achievement.
In the next three years, Romeo said she hopes we will begin to see the streets of our community cleared of homeless people. She hopes that more of Tampa Crossroad’s disabled clients will have the opportunity of being employed in their chosen career field. Also, she wants to see that Tampa Crossroads is able to provide for those with mental illness and behavioral health issues, who are now being incarcerated.
The primary focus of Tampa Crossroads has been to reach ‘functional zero’ by December 30 of this year. That focus has not changed. According to Romeo, the last 200 homeless veterans in our community have been identified, and Tampa Crossroads is working with many of their community partners to ensure we reach functional zero this year.
“We have always advocated for and championed the cause to assist those who need us, whether they are experiencing a mental health issue, substance abuse, lack of employment due to their disability, or more recently, homeless after serving our country,” she said.
After functional zero has been achieved in our community, the next focus is on prevention. The hope for this organization, is that we will have a system of care in place, to immediately assist anyone who would potentially become homeless to insure that they would be rehoused in less than 30 days.
At this time, individuals who wish to assist Tampa Crossroads efforts of serving those in our community who served our country can make donations to the programs that house men, women and children. These programs are vital to ensure that housing is available for everyone.
This post originally appeared in vstpacrossroads, multimedia journalism from The University of Tampa covering the veterans and services provided to them at Tampa Crossroads.