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'Hillsborough Hope' created in Tampa for homeless to shelter from COVID-19

Several businesses helped to set up the temporary shelter, donating beds and maintenance work.
Credit: City of Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. — With Hillsborough County under a safer-at-home order because of COVID-19 coronavirus, officials are providing a shelter option for people who are homeless.

The city of Tampa, in partnership with Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg set up the "Hillsborough Hope" tent shelter meant to help 100 homeless people.

It includes tents, three meals daily, showers, laundry, case management and care, the city said, with the goal of making the homeless feel "safe at home" during the pandemic.

When a person arrives, they complete an intake, receive toiletries and be proved with a numbered tent. Included in intake is testing each individual to see if they are showing coronavirus-related symptoms upon entering the site.

The model of an open-air shelter is preferred by the county health department as it helps to avoid the spread of coronavirus, a city spokesperson said.

Several businesses stepped up to help, including Ashley HomeStore by donating 100 beds and Oman Construction, which helped to provide the electrical and water hook-ups.

Tampa contracted with Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg in the amount of $120,000, the spokesperson said.

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