Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St.Petersburg, in partnership with the City of Tampa, opened a shelter (Hillsborough Hope) for homeless residents of Tampa on vacant land owned by Catholic Charities on March 30, 2020. Due to the risk posed by the coronavirus, city officials decided to relocate homeless residents in order to provide the best opportunity to care for them as the virus infects dramatically more people and food shortages intensify.
“In Tampa, we help each other in times of need, and Hillsborough Hope is a perfect example. As we all stay safe at home, ‘Hillsborough Hope’, in coordination with Catholic Charities and a host of community partners, is providing shelter to 100 homeless individuals in our community that have no place to go. This incredible initiative is offering potentially life-saving resources like shelter, food, and a place to shower, to those that need them most, and it will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community” says Mayor Jane Castor. “The sooner we start taking care of each other, the sooner we can get through this together.”
Individual tents at the shelter will allow residents to maintain the required social distance. The City of Tampa is providing access to utilities, tents and other equipment as well as security by Tampa Police Department. Food will be provided through private donations and in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay.
According to Vanessa McCleary, Housing and Community Development Manager for the City of Tampa, “We are pleased to partner with Catholic Charities because of its’ expertise in providing shelter and supportive services to the homeless at its Pinellas Hope (Clearwater) shelter.”
In addition to the land, Catholic Charities will provide support personnel, including case managers, laundry trailers, a mobile laundromat and six portable toilets. BayCare Health will assist with health screenings.
“All parties have recognized the need to provide this important service to the homeless of Tampa and while unfortunate, the coronavirus crisis has proven to be the catalyst to make it happen,” said Margaret (Maggie) Rogers, Catholic Charities’ Executive Director. “We are grateful to the City of Tampa for their faith in our ability to replicate our work serving the homeless of Pinellas County.”
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About Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg
Since 1945, Catholic Charities has provided social services aimed at supporting and preserving families and promoting self-sufficiency and social justice. Catholic Charities, rated as a 4-star nonprofit by Charity Navigator and accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), is a nonprofit leader in serving the poor and vulnerable within Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties. Under the auspices of the Diocese of St. Petersburg (www.dosp.org), it operates three broad umbrella Ministries of Mercy: Foundations of Life, Shelters of Hope, and Friends in Need. Nearly 13,000 individuals were served last year with assistance including but not limited to: food (over 200,000 meals) and clothing, emergency shelter, affordable housing for the elderly, low income, farm worker families, and those suffering from HIV/AIDS and other disabilities, respite care and medical screening, immigration and citizenship services, pregnancy and adoption services, and disaster relief. Learn more at www.ccdosp.org/.