Metropolitan Ministries Tampa Bay assistance programs.

Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas County Florida residents can turn to Metropolitan Ministries for assistance or referrals. The non-profit provides services to the less fortunate in the Tampa Bay area. Some of the programs they offer, namely financial aid for paying rent and other bills, is very limited and is for a last resort only. Other self-sufficiency type resources, including food, may be more widely available.

All assistance is confidential and provided by compassionate and caring volunteers and staff members. They will meet with qualified applicants and will try to help people get the help they need. Much of the support is provided from referrals, but in some cases the non-profit can provide direct assistance.

Food, including hot meals are offered. Numerous charities and groups in Hillsborough County, Polk County, Plant City, South County, and Pinellas County work with Metropolitan Ministries to serve free hot, nutritious and balanced meals to families and individuals who would otherwise go without.

The Box of Hope is an emergency food box. This is available to those that qualify a few times per year and each application is reviewed on a case by case basis. The client will also need to have a referral from a social worker, community agency, government organization, or local ministry. Other conditions are in place as well, such as proof of address and other needs.

Clothing may be offered from the Metro Outfitters. The items are for families and individuals who are considered to be homeless, very low income, or that are found eligible through an intake and evaluation process.

Applications for government benefits are processed at the Access Site. The location provides clients with immediate assistance to complete applications for Florida State government benefits, Food Assistance, Medicaid, and also Cash Assistance. Licensed Medicare agents are also on site throughout the week for seniors and the elderly. There are many public assistance programs in Florida that Metropolitan Ministries can help people apply for.





First Hug is a Metropolitan Ministries Housing Assistance program for homeless families with children 0 to 8 years of age. It offers services that can help your family deal with medial issues or trauma. It can provide some case management, educational support, and other help.

Housing programs are administered by Metropolitan Ministries. They were designed and can be customized to meet an individual’s or family needs. Some components of it includes Rapid Re-housing. This can help with providing search, placement assistance and maybe funds for paying rent or a security deposit. Another option is the Residential Program, which was designed for families with single women and minor age children and it is a long term residency program.

A program of last resort is Special Assistance. This may help in very limited situation with paying rent or energy bills. Metropolitan Ministries partners with many Tampa Bay organizations such as Catholic Charities, the local Neighborhood Services Centers, and the regional Family Support Crisis Center. Extensive proof is needed per the application process, a financial assessment will be conducted on all members of the household, support for income and expenses is needed as well as other supporting documentation.

Transitional Housing is available from Uplift. It is a local, long-term residential program for single women or families with children. Participants can get free food, access to housing, counseling, and educational support for up to 18 months. Other housing may be available off-site in Tampa neighborhoods allowing families to live independently while still receiving help. Some of the other assistance is noted below.

Financial counseling, budgeting and money management workshops are offered. This is done in partnerships with local Hillsborough County area universities and financial institutions.

Uplift provides employment services to people using the transitional housing facility. Case mangers from Metropolitan Ministries will assist residents in preparing for and finding gainful employment, organize career counseling, coordinate guidance with résumé  writing, and more. There is even a Head Start classroom for resident and community children ages 3-4.

Families in the housing units can receive three free nutritious meals a day. There is also a pediatric community clinic that provides school check-ups and immunizations. In some cases acute medical care for resident children is available.

The Sanctuary at Waters Ave is another affordable housing unit. It is made up of town homes that were developed in response to the growing need for low income, safe and affordable housing in the Tampa Bay Florida community. It is available for those families and individuals that have gone through the self-sufficiency program and/or Uplift U. It may also be used by graduates of other transitional housing programs.





Outreach services can answer questions, provide tips and referrals, and other support to the less fortunate. Staff can help people connect with the different services they may need. Some of these additional services and assistance programs are below.

  • After-school care as well as Florida free daycare programs.
  • Free meals, boxes of food, and gently used clothing.
  • Help in obtaining needed identification, such as the Florida ID program.
  • Free Income Tax preparation services through the Prosperity Campaign.
  • Money management, budgeting and other financial skills training.
  • Assistance in finding affordable, permanent accommodations.
  • Get guidance in education choices including connections to job training, GED classes and other work and employment opportunities in the area.

Metropolitan Ministries offices are at 2301 North Tampa Street, Tampa, Florida 33602 (call 813.209.1200) as well as 3214 US Highway 19, Holiday FL 34691 (phone 727.937.3268).


By Jon McNamara

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