Mobilize local Christian churches and their trained members to transform the lives of single men struggling with homelessness and our Tampa community, in the Name of Christ.
Our Tampa neighbors struggling with homelessness, attempting to enter the workforce have extreme challenges trying to get off the street. For our motivated, qualified, single men, the challenges are far more extreme:
- Tampa agency programming, offering single men’s programs including housing has not existed since mid-1980s except for ex-offenders.
- Starting salaries of our tenants are typically minimum wage (about $8/hour).
- These men often have prior financial commitments, such as child support payments, suspended driver’s license charges, or drug recovery treatment charges.
- Lack of Tampa affordable housing at all levels not being addressed (2017 United Way ALICE Report).
- A typical apartment requires a down payment equal to at least two month’s rent.
- Critical, wraparound support services to help stabilize these men are required.
These access obstacles for affordable housing make it almost impossible for these men to transform to self-sufficiency. Also, other than the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative’s Housing First model with its resources focus on chronically homeless – veterans, disabled, chemically dependent and those with behavioral health issues, there has been a steady decline in government agency and/or charity organization assistance available for nonmilitary, single homeless men with scarce, viable options on the horizon.
To help meet this critical community bridge housing gap, Hyde Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC), the Portico, Love INC (in the Name of Christ) of Metro Tampa (Love INC), and Tampa landlord / member of HPUMC, Second Half Properties, Inc. formed Love INC of Metro Tampa, INC d.b.a. Portico Workforce Housing Solutions in July, 2016. Second Half Properties provided at their cost a centrally located 3-bedroom house located at 2924 E MLK Jr. with a washer and dryer for the Initiative, and separate rooms available for rent for $260/month with a $100 deposit.
Outcomes To Date
Since July 2016 we have offered our housing option, designed to last from six to twelve months, to seven men, to bridge them from being homeless to permanent housing. “Dave”, our first tenant transitioned to his own studio apartment in December, 2016 and is now completely self-sufficient. One current resident has transitioned from temporary labor to full time employment with medical benefits. Another is employed as an electrician and studying to get his journeyman’s license. As of April, 2017, all three current residents are on plan and doing great.
With an extensive waiting list of men seeking the same opportunity, we need resources to expand the program. If our program; affordable bridge housing with accountability, is what you seek in a nonprofit undertaking, please consider joining our faith journey by investing in our Initiative allowing us to buy another house. We already have $20,000 on deposit and need another $50,000 to buy another house. Help us assist qualified, motivated, employed men who are serious about restoring their dignity and improving our community.
Who are your initiative leaders and their roles?
Pastor of The Portico / wraparound support services including counseling and behavioral health
813 482 8008 cell
HPUMC member and landlord / property management
813 928 5530 cell
HPUMC member / Open Arms ACCESS Help Desk volunteer / potential tenant identification, screening and wraparound support services
813 431 4959 cell
Sacred Heart Church Member / Love INC co-founder / tenant screening, resource navigator instructor and wraparound support services
813 466 9166 cell
Rev. Vicki Walker
HPUMC Mission’s Director / Initiative Advisor
Who owns the house? Our first house is owned and managed by Second Half Properties. Our next home will be owned by Love INC of Metro Tampa, INC dba Portico Workforce Housing Solutions, a 501c3 nonprofit registered in Florida and managed by Second Half Properties.
Is a signed tenant/landlord understanding in place with each tenant? At lease signing, tenants also sign a landlord tenant understanding detailing all aspects of our covenant with tenant, including supporting each other in a communal living setting. Tenants having two violations of understanding – late rents, violating house rules are asked to leave.
Are wraparound support services available for tenants? Yes; since we inspect the property weekly, collect rents and interface with our tenants, we are aware of possible support needs early in our relationship. The Portico staff is available for spiritual and emotional support. Love INC is intentionally relational, looking for multiple opportunities to ‘love on’ our tenants. As its ministry grows, they will offer tenants classes to help them transform their lives, including budgeting/financial management, life skills and more.