A strict focus on rehousing and preventing evictions is available from the Homeless Emergency Project. The agency is focused on the greater Pinellas County region, and they offer a number of services to struggling individuals.
The organization provides all qualified families and individuals with access to a case manager. Together they will work towards self-sufficiency and long term financial stability. As part of this process, HEP’s solution-focused model helps the person solve problems and connects them with Pinellas County based community services to meet long-term needs.
The case managers from Homeless Emergency Project set goals for clients that are set around a few different lifetime goals, including increasing basic education, legal aid, vocational skills, access to economic resources, low income housing, mental health, tackling substance abuse, medical issues, and relationships.
An overnight shelter is also available for the homeless. It provides up to 30 days of temporary housing, free food or clothing and other support services. The Pinellas County Homeless Street Outreach Teams accept referrals to the shelter all week long. Upon discharge from the center, the formerly homeless individual is either linked to other housing resources in the community or move through HEP’s continuum of care process as they progress toward self-sufficiency.
More transitional type facilities for individuals, single moms and families that provide up to 90 days of temporary housing. There are also support services available as well. This is formally known as the family transition program (FTP), and it assists a growing number of residents that are behind on their rent or are experiencing a housing crisis for economic reasons.
The agency, and FTP, provides stabilization and rapid re-housing services when possible. This can include things such as government grants to pay for moving costs, security deposits and/or rent. This is only for income qualified families. Other support includes home-based case management and ongoing support to families for up to one year. The FTP program also connects families with community resources, including those at local churches.
In addition, HEP’s transitional housing program can, in some cases, provide a place to stay for individuals for up to 2 years. This allows clients time to continue working toward goals pertaining to independent living, employment, increasing their income, and mental health and accessing substance abuse treatment.
The non-profit agency also operates a permanent supportive housing service in Pinellas County. This particular resource provides more stable housing for qualified individuals, senior citizens and families with disabilities. This program offers long-term care to the clients and specialized services.
A wide variety of educational and job training programs that are available through Homeless Emergency Project are designed to help individuals increase their education and employment skills in order to find and keep a job. A tutor can assist under or unemployed individuals with what is needed to be successful. This will include basic reading and communication skills. There are also a series of life-skill classes that include instruction on banking, credit repair, job preparation, parenting and other skills used in daily living.
A series of ongoing GED classes are available in Florida too. These are tailored to students’ education level and their current skillset, with pre-testing available on an individual basis. A highly experienced job-skills coach from Homeless Emergency Project prepares clients for interviews. They will also assist them in obtaining job training. Computer classes, meanwhile, teach clients basic and advanced uses of software such as Windows operating systems and Excel.
HEP is also serving food or meals to the hungry and homeless population. The food that is provided includes meats and poultry; produce; baby formula; dairy products; canned meats and vegetables; rice and pasta; flour and baking supplies; fruit cups; cereal and crackers; and cheese-and-cracker snack packs. They also have information on food banks in Pinellas County as well as benefits such as SNAP food stamps. The organization also works with specialist, including a licensed nutritionist to provide one-on-one consultations with individuals or the homeless to support healthy eating habits.
Hygiene is important too. HEP offers personal-care kits to homeless citizens and those facing poverty to help them maintain good personal appearance and hygiene. Each kit includes items such as free soap, razors and shaving cream, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, nail-care devices, and towels. Feminine hygiene products are also included at no cost for women.
The agency provides free dental care for uninsured and very low income citizens who fall below 200% of the federal government poverty level. Some of the assistance provided by volunteer dentists include help with emergency pain relief and preventive and restorative care. Nurses, professional, and also dentists from the community comprise the staff of HELP, and private grants provide the operational funding for the dental clinic.
Free legal counsel, while limited, is sometimes available on a monthly basis for Pinellas County Florida citizens in need of assistance. The focus is on helping people file a claim for disability, section 8 housing, and other basic claims, especially for government benefits. Gulfcoast Legal Services, working with others such as the Office of the Public Defender and Law Offices of Amy G. Bellhorn PLLC provide the advice.
Veterans comprise a large percentage of the homeless population in Florida and also across Pinellas County. To help this population, HEP provides safe and affordable, low income housing for male and female veterans at its West Apartment Community complex. Among other things, this features single-occupancy units them. In addition to that, there are a number of support services available to residents, including mental health care, medical care, referrals ova benefits, substance abuse counseling and other services.
The organization is located at 1120 North Betty Lane, Clearwater, Florida 33755 and can be reached by phone at (727) 442-9041. Call them if and when struggling with rent or facing homelessness.
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