The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County has taken the lead since 1986 in training, education, and advocacy on behalf of the homeless population. We bring together various businesses, service providers, faith-based organizations, agencies and individuals to maintain current services and expand our community's capacity to help our homeless neighbors. Our role is to establish and maintain a continuum of services through strategic efforts and community-wide planning. We are a 501(c) 3 organization governed by our coalition members and joined in our efforts by service providers, agencies, legislators, business leaders, homeless people, and individuals who are dedicated to ensuring that everyone is Responding to the Needs of the Community on behalf of the homeless population.
- By Responding, our advocacy has resulted in $33.2 million for housing and services for homeless children, their families, the disabled and those suffering from other illnesses (1986-present). We maintain a close connection with our members during the legislative session through our frequent alerts about bills effecting housing justice, economic justice, health care justice, and civil rights. We do this by grassroots organizing, public education, policy advocacy, technical assistance, and partnerships.
- The Needs continue to grow thus, we draw people from all over the county to workshops and conversations about emerging issues and ongoing professional and personal growth. We offer a photo exhibit, provide experts for speaking engagements, and share leadership with other organizations.
- Our Community collaboration and coordination with private businesses and corporations, banks and other funding institutions, housing and service providers, state and federal agencies, faith-based communities, and other supportive organizations means that we can quickly convene stakeholders and provide a way for creative partnerships to evolve, thus Responding to the Needs of the Community.
Places for People - The Tampa-Hillsborough 10-year Plan to End Homelessness Edit
Uniting people and resources in Tampa and Hillsborough County to end homelessness by increasing access to affordable housing and shelter. In November 2005, the Tampa-Hillsborough Citizen's Taskforce on Homelessness Recommendations reaffirmed the direction of Places for People. This Taskforce met for a year and included representatives from service providers, the business community, faith leaders, local government, law enforcement, community organizations and chambers of commerce.
Recommendations to achieve our mission:
- Create a Homeless Customer Services Program that coordinates intake and assessment collaboratively, while creating an accurate database in real time on homelessness/low income housing and shelter space availability.
- Develop H.E.L.P. (Hillsborough Emergency Lodging Program) Shelters to stabilize families while they wait to get into a mainstream program. To utilize a facility with 25-35 units by using renovated motels or new structures.
- Develop a H.E.L.P. Shelter to stabilize single homeless while they wait to get into mainstream programs (125 to 200 units).
- Develop a Recuperative Care Center for homeless persons who are released from hospitals; a facility to recuperate with medical support before they return to the streets.
- Create incentives to develop Permanent Supportive Housing: Small facilities with services for the chronically homeless. Monitor quality of services, facilities, and outcomes.
- PERMANENT HOUSING…By using “Housing First” as the main way to addressing homelessness. Assist the Tampa Housing Authority, City of Tampa, and Hillsborough County to prioritize development of very low-income housing (30% of median income and below). As a budgeted priority, and endorse the National Housing Trust Fund.
Office and Administrative: Directly supports our staff in efforts to build the community's capacity to help homeless men, women and children.
Help with Special Events: A few times a year, the Coalition hosts events that aim to connect homeless people with available services and raise public awareness about the unmet needs of our homeless neighbors.
Speakers: Help educate others in the community about our homeless neighbors, dispel myths about homelessness and share how everyone can make a difference.
If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities at the Coalition, please contact Lesa Weikel at Lesa@homelessofhc.org.