CommunityAround Town


St. Pete nonprofits work to create inclusive community

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 12:51:09-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Nonprofit groups in south St. Petersburg are making it their mission to highlight racial inequality and be the change they want to see in their community.

One of the programs aimed at helping the community and those who will re-enter it is Second Chance Tiny Homes.

It's a program that enlists incarcerated individuals and hires them to build tiny homes for veterans.

"I graduated from high school. I fell into the streets. I went to prison for three years for trafficking," said Jacques Hodges, who is part of Second Chance Tiny Homes.

He's finishing his six-month prison sentence with the project.

The man behind it is Matt Byrd.

"I have seen some of the toughest guys really just break down in tears and say thank you for the opportunity just to express that," Byrd said.

Byrd is a man who wears many hats.

He's the case manager for PERC, a program aimed at helping prisoners re-enter society after incarceration, and is the project manager for the Hidden Voices program. It's a grassroots effort to end gun violence.

"There's equity struggles going on out here that we need to address. There are inequalities that we need to advocate on," Byrd said.

Helping with his mission is Nick Carey.

Carey traded in a successful career as a chemist to join the nonprofit Faith in Florida to fight against racial injustice.

"We believe that no matter whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, other, athiest. That people have a core belief in justice," Carey said.

Byrd knows the changes won't happen overnight, but he can already see them in play in the faces and actions of people like Hodges.