If you’ve spent any amount of time in downtown Tampa since whatever happened in early 2020, a subject which our local experts still don’t fully understand or recognize, you’ll surely have noticed a surge of tents popping up around parks, CVS Pharmacies, and anywhere else that isn’t the police department or courthouse.
To our surprise, these canvas cowboys are not urban camping enthusiasts. Instead, they’re what were formerly referred to as “homeless people”, but who are now addressed as “unhoused people”, a name which is the source of considerable confusion since over 70% of them are men.
Despite the rebranding, these individuals still appear to have nowhere better to go than a single occupancy Coleman tent. But this is set to change as luxury cardboard box highrises are slated to be erected on the outskirts of Curtis Hixon Park.
“I think we can do better for our people,” said Tony Gargini, of Gargini Brothers Construction Company. “For Chrissakes, some of these fellas fought in the war or something. Don’t that pull at your heartstrings?”
Having received an inordinate amount of cardboard boxes for various appliances, Gargini aims to build ten stories worth of “cardboard-inium” properties. When asked where they procured such a large volume of boxes, Gargini said, “What’s it matter? My cousin’s in waste management.”
Units in the towers will be available in three sizes: washer, dryer, or, for those with deep pockets, refrigerators. Regardless of budget, every residence will come equipped with one hot plate with a frayed wire, a metal pot to be used alternatively for cooking or urinating, and a hand drawn window with a view of the river.
However, not every resident is thrilled to see the highrise be built. One resident said, “I think it’s just reprehensible what they’re doing. Who wants this? A permanent residence for people who weren’t born rich?! Makes my skin crawl!”
Meanwhile, others voiced their support for the initiative, saying, “I think it’s great that they’re finally giving the unhoused a place to live. Knowing they’re indoors gives me peace of mind. Because then I can just pretend the problem doesn’t exist.”
“Honestly, it might bring property values down,” said Chris Reddick, a bartender who has to drive from Dade City every day to make $2.67 an hour at a 5 star boutique restaurant in Hyde Park. “And if that keeps up, maybe I can afford to rent a flood damaged apartment in Lutz. Assuming I can find 6 roommates to split rent. This is a huge win for everyone.”
When asked for comment, a representative for the Hillsborough County Housing Commission said, “The Garginis are upstanding citizens who are putting their money where our hands are. Wait, don’t write that down. Stop. STOP!”