Catholic Charities officially opens permanent “Tampa Hope” on Monday
Catholic Charities, in partnership with the City of Tampa, is opening a new homeless resource program called Tampa Hope, providing safe, secure, and permanent shelter for hundreds of men and women as well as food, clothing, transportation, education, employment, and benefits assistance, substance abuse and mental health counseling, basic medical care, and case management services.
Officials with the city and Catholic Charities on Monday, December 13 will welcome the first 50 residents and hold a news conference at the site located at 3704 E. 3rd Avenue in Tampa. Initially, clients will be housed in tents assembled on wood platforms. When at full capacity, the program can house up to 300 people in permanent structures, known as Hope Cottages™.
“Improving access to housing for all Tampa residents is a central part of our Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow strategy, and I am so proud and grateful to be working with Catholic Charities on this compassionate and innovative program to help people along the path to self-sufficiency,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “It's great to see Tampa booming with economic growth and luxury development, but the Tampa City Council and I believe firmly that this city’s success depends on improving the quality of life for every Tampa resident no matter their current economic status. Tampa Hope will improve and save lives.”
Exterior of a Hope Cottage™
Services and Amenities
The Tampa Hope site provides access to showers and bathrooms, three daily meals, clothing, toiletries and medication.
People taking part in Tampa Hope will also receive multitude of services, including case management, mental health assessment, basic medical and dental care, substance abuse counseling, transportation and housing assistance, employment assistance and financial counseling.
“We believe these Hope Cottages™ are a great starting point in helping rebuild lives,” said Maggie Rogers, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. “Tampa Hope is a place where you can stay off the streets and find safety and a true support network to lift you up when you need it most.”
The establishment budget for this program is $7.3M for the first year to take care of build-out and operations.
In the second year, when the program is at full capacity, the annual budget will be around $3.1M. Catholic Charities first purchased the property on November 4, 2021.
Subsequently, City Council approved funding of $750,000 to aid in the operation of the shelter with the goal of opening the program on December 13.
About Hope Cottages™
Hope Cottages™ are 64 square feet with a one or two-person occupancy and are equipped with standard electrical outlets and electrical capabilities required for heat and air conditioning. Hope Cottages are also extremely easy to clean and sanitize.
The cottages are made from recycled and in-organic materials such as aluminum. One benefit of using these materials is that there is no rain-related damage or rot. Additionally, the units are mold and mildew-resistant with a 10+ year material lifespan.
The homes also can withstand winds of 157+ miles per hour (Cat 5) and attach in nine different points in the ground with pull-out rods to maximize stability.
Each Hope Cottage™ features lockable doors and windows, an emergency escape panel, fire extinguisher, CO monitor and smoke detector, air conditioner and heater, bed with mattress, insulated walls, glass windows, electrical outlets, fold-away bed(s) and shelves and storage.
How Tampa Hope Started
Catholic Charities first established Tampa Hope on March 30, 2020, in partnership with the City of Tampa to open a temporary emergency shelter for 100 homeless adults living in Tampa to keep them safe and off the streets during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic
The interfaith community, businesses, other nonprofits and individuals assisted in the effort. Clients were screened for COVID by BayCare Health System and were assisted with food, clothing, transportation, education, employment and benefits assistance, substance abuse and mental health counseling, basic medical care, and case management services.
The facility was made operational in two weeks and utilized a shower trailer, laundry trailer, port-o-restrooms, and mobile hand wash stations.
The Tampa Police Department provided overnight security while tents and fire extinguisher stations were arranged in accordance with Tampa Fire Department guidelines. As a result, nearly 80 individuals were placed in permanent housing and no individuals tested positive for COVID.