TAMPA, Florida -- Governor Rick Scott is expected to be in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, listening to homeless teens and young adults as they share their stories.
It's part of a public forum, the first of its kind held by the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County. It starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
Kalmesha Jones is one of the teens who may be speaking about her experiences. Family problems left her on her own at 14.
"I stopped going to school as much because I was worrying about my bills, and I couldn't go to school and try to have a job," she says. "I was scared because I was like, 'How am I still supposed to be a kid and take care of myself?'"
Through the school system, she was paired with social worker Kathy Wiggins, who has set her up with a host family, a place to call home as she finishes high school. Wiggins works for Camelot Community Care, and was also instrumental in coordinating Wednesday's youth homelessness panel.
"I don't have to think about how I'm going to pay my rent or what I'm going to eat, food stamps and all that because Miss Kathy helps me, my host family helps me. So I just go to school and get good grades," Jones says.
She's excited for her story to be heard by Governor Scott and most importantly, she says, by other kids who may be in the same situation.
"If there's people out there that need help, they don't have to be scared," she says. "They can just let someone know because it's very important."