Catholic Charities ‘Hillsborough Hope’ (established March 30, 2020)

Aerial View of ‘Hillsborough Hope’
Photo Credit: Luis Santana, Tampa Bay Times

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, in partnership with the City of Tampa, is creating a shelter for homeless residents of Tampa on vacant land owned by Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities had been working with the City of Tampa for some time to establish a new ‘Pinellas Hope’ in Hillsborough County. Due to the risk posed by the coronavirus, city officials decided the time to open a shelter was now. The decision 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.”

The shelter opened Monday, March 30th at 10:00 am. The individual tents 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 in Hillsborough County.”