HILLSBOROUGH CO, Fla- — Tampa Bay area counties are opening cold weather shelters for those in need this holiday season.
Hillsborough County says its shelters will be open from Thursday, Dec. 24 through Saturday, Dec. 26 for the homeless and those who live in homes without adequate heat. Hillsborough residents can go to a congregate shelter or get a three-night voucher at a motel for Thursday through Saturday.
Pre-registration is required to claim a motel voucher. The vouchers are good for all three nights.
There will be no vouchers available for fewer than three nights. A state ID is required to register for a voucher.
Hillsborough County is partnering with Amazing Love Ministries to provide a limited-capacity cold weather shelter for adults. Amazing Love Ministries is located at 3304 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa and opens at 6 p.m. for adults all three days.
"Here in Florida, anywhere between 1,400 and 1,700 homeless are on the street, so [it's] very important" said Thayron Byrd, assistant to the pastor at Amazing Love Ministries. "When these temperatures get down to the 40 degree mark, most of the country knows about how cold it is, but for Florida, 40 degrees is very cold."
Byrd says guests at Amazing Love Ministries will undergo a temperature check and wear masks at all times to follow CDC guidelines.
Metropolitan Ministries is supplying a limited number of three-night motel vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-registration is required by calling the numbers below. The deadline to call and register is 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24.
- Individuals and families can call (813) 209-1176.
- Residents in Plant City can call (813) 652-8144.
Hillsborough County wants to remind of important changes for this season: "The congregate shelter will be at limited capacity to comply with social distancing recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each resident who chooses to take advantage of cold weather shelters will be screened upon entry. Residents and volunteers will be required to wear a face-covering while inside the shelter, and one will be provided if they do not have one. Dinner and breakfast will be served in single-service containers."
Organizations interested in hosting a cold-weather shelter this season can contact Julie Watkinson, Community Relations Coordinator, at (813) 276-2677 for more information or visit their website HERE.
Sarasota County Emergency Services says the Salvation Army - Center of Hope will begin intake at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 24-25. Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24 and breakfast will be served the following morning at 5:30 a.m. On Dec. 25, a traditional Christmas meal will be served from 1 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. Breakfast will be served the following morning at 5:30 a.m.
In Pinellas County, shelters will open the nights of Friday, Dec. 25 and Saturday, Dec. 26 from about 7 p.m. and close the following morning at 6 a.m. Shelter guests will be provided a hot evening meal and breakfast the following morning.
The following cold weather shelters are available to adult men and women in Pinellas County:
MLK Jr Neighborhood Center
1201 Douglas Ave
Clearwater, FL 33755
Note: This shelter opens at 8 p.m.
Boy and Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park
7709 61st Street N.
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
Northwest Presbyterian Church
6330 54th Avenue N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33706
The Turning Point
1810 5th Avenue N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33713
1400 4th Street S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Boys and Girls Club of Tarpon Springs
111 W. Lime Street
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
Pinellas County says families with children will be placed in family shelters on cold nights. Families should call 2-1-1, Tampa Bay Cares, Inc., for information about family shelters.