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    Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County



    (formerly the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County)


    2014 Homeless Count Data Released

    At a press conference this morning, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative CEO Maria Barcus shared the results from the 2014 Homeless Count in Hillsborough County that was conducted on February 27, 2014.  While the overall number of homeless people living in Hillsborough County in essence remained the same, this year’s numbers show progress has been made.


    On the day of the homeless count, 2,243 literally homeless men, women and children were counted compared to the 2,275 counted in 2013.  There were significant decreases in the number of chronically homeless people, as well as in the number of literally homeless persons residing in homeless families (defined as two or more people) and in the number of homeless, non-chronic, non-veteran single individuals.  Increases in the number of homeless veterans and their families, and unaccompanied youth offset the decreases in the other subpopulations.


    “This year our analysis of the data went beyond basic demographics and looked deeper into five subpopulations,” said Barcus. “By looking closely at these five subpopulations, we are able to identify the different needs each group has, plan for specific interventions, determine where the greatest needs exist, and better plan to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and most frequent users of homeless services.”


    The five subpopulations are:  veterans and their families, chronically homeless - non veterans, unaccompanied youth, families as defined by households with two or more people and not in any of the above categories, and individuals not in any of the above categories.  These subpopulations were identified and selected based on their distinct needs and indicated  responses.


    There was a 33 percent decrease in the number of non-veteran chronically homeless people compared to 2013.  This subpopulation represents 15 percent of the total homeless population compared to 22 percent in 2013.  Of the 337 non-veteran chronically homeless persons counted this year, most were unsheltered, 67 percent.


    People living in families with two or more people, who are neither chronic, nor veteran affiliated declined by 20 percent, to 396 people living in 144 families.  They represent 18 percent of the homeless population.  In 2013, there were 493 homeless people residing in 201 families representing 22 percent of the homeless population.


    The number of homeless individuals who are neither chronic nor veterans declined by 24 percent from 1,467 to 1,117.  These individuals represent 50 percent of the homeless population.  In 2013, they represented 64 percent of the total homeless population.


    The two subpopulations with increases are also the two subpopulations that had a special focus during the count – veterans and unaccompanied youth.  The focus was made because the 2013 numbers did not seem to reflect the numbers accessing services in the community.


    Veterans and their families comprise 11 percent of the total populations and increased 47 percent, from 170 to 250 people.

    Unaccompanied youth, aged 16 to 24, increased from just 4 in 2013 to 143 this year, which represent eight percent of the total population.  Barcus noted that no unaccompanied youth under 18 were counted, and that because this population is incredibly difficult to reach this number may still be relatively low.


    Another key data area analyzed was the sheltered vs. unsheltered homeless population.  The unsheltered homeless population represents 49 percent of the total population, up from 41.5 percent in 2013.  Of those unsheltered, 44 percent were non-chronic, non-veteran individuals, 23 percent were chronically homeless and 12 percent were veterans.  This data helps to understand the homeless shelter and housing needs in the community.


    During the press conference, Barcus took a moment to reflect on how Hillsborough County compares with other Florida communities as well as nationwide.  Based on 2013 data,Hillsborough County is in line with other communities.  The number of people experiencing homelessness per thousand population, shows Hillsborough has fewer people experiencing homelessness than Florida, the U.S. and comparable Florida continuums of care with the exception of Palm Beach.  The unsheltered population is slightly higher than the US, but considerably less than Florida.  Pinellas, Orlando and Jacksonville have more unsheltered homeless people relative to their population than Hillsborough.


    Barcus then highlighted what the data shows in terms of programs and planning.  Of key importance is that the data shows the Housing First approach to reducing and ending homelessness works as evidenced by the 29% reduction in the number of chronically homeless persons, including Veterans, through the 500 Homes Forward effort, which successfully housed 188 chronically homeless people in 2013.


    Additionally, she stated that because the majority of literally homeless people are non-chronic, non-veterans individuals, this subpopulation must be a focus of efforts in order to reduce and end homelessness.

    Barcus recognized that some in the community may simply look at the overall number and think that nothings been done in the past year.


    “Obviously the decreases in the subpopulations do in fact demonstrate progress has been made,” said Barcus.  “Significant changes in the system of care were set in motion in the past six months, and the impact of these efforts won’t be fully evident until 2016.”


    With this data and information, we now have the understanding and baseline data needed to complete an achievable community strategy to reduce and end homelessness that is based on best practices, measurable goals, targeting the greatest need while understanding and addressing the needs of the various subpopulations,” said Barcus.

    2014 Homeless Count Results PowerPoint Presentation (PDF)

    2014 Homeless Count Results - Demographics and Sub-Populations (PDF)




    THHI Board Approves 2013 Continuum of Care Program Grant Ranking and Rating

    As required by HUD and in accordance with THHI’s Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum of Care - 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition - Request for Proposals, 12/12/3 and subsequent RFP addendums, THHI is notifying the Tampa/Hillsborough County CoC that on January 21, 2014, our board of directors, serving in the capacity as the Collaborative Applicant and responsible for completion of the CoC Responsibilities, approved the ranking of the applications submitted for the 2013 Continuum of Care Program Grant.  Click here to read the Tampa / Hillsborough County CoC 2013 CoC Competitive Grant Program Ranking approved.


    For more information about the rating and ranking process, please refer to the RFP and Addendums:


    Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum of Care - 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition - Request for Proposals


    Addendum 1 to the Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum Of Care - 2013 Continuum Of Care Program Competition RFP Released 12/12/2013


    Addendum 2 to the Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum Of Care - 2013 Continuum Of Care Program Competition RFP Released 12/12/2013



    VA Announces SSVF NOFA

    The VA announced the availability of funds today through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) via the Federal Register.  The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative will not be submitting for renewal grant for the SSVF program this cycle.  We encourage interested and eligible organizations with the experience and capacity to operate an SSVF program, to apply as a new applicant.  For your convenience, here is the link to the Federal Register website for the SSVF NOFA.


    The SSVF FY 2015 NOFA states that "all SSVF applicants should provide letters of support from the CoC where they plan to deliver services that reflect the applicant's engagement in the CoC's efforts to coordinate services." The NOFA further states that Priority 1 applications are required to have a letter of support, with the CoC limited to supporting only two Priority 1 applications; and Priority 3 applicants are strongly encouraged to obtain a CoC support letter.  Since there is a potential for several organizations to apply for SSVF to serve very low income veteran households in Hillsborough County, as the CoC lead agency, we feel we it is necessary to utilize a process to help us fairly and transparently determine which applications, especially Priority 1 applications, we will be able to provide letters of support.  Click here for more information on the process to request a Tampa/Hillsborough County CoC letter of support for SSVF applications.


    Addendum 2 to the Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum Of Care - 2013 Continuum Of Care Program Competition RFP Released 12/12/2013

    As required in the Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum of Care 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition Request for Proposals, released 12/12/13, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI), as the Collaborative Applicant, is hereby posting  Addendum 2 to the 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition RFP Released 12/12/2013.



    Rapid Rehousing Training

    The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative has arranged for the National Alliance to End Homelessness to hold a two-day training on rapid rehousing here in Tampa on January 16 and 17, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

    The training will be held at ACTS, 4612 N. 56th Street, Tampa, 33610.


    The training is free for staff working at organizations within the Tampa/Hillsborough CoC.  Organizations outside the Tampa/Hillsborough CoC are invited to send staff with a cost of $50 per person.


    Attendance is strongly recommended and encouraged for:

    • case managers, housing specialists and program managers currently working in rapid rehousing programs, including those funded through ESG;
    • organizations with a desire to start a rapid rehousing program, including those that have applied for CoC funding;
    • anyone working with homeless persons; and
    • anyone interested in learning about this best practice model.


    The training will include the following topics and core components of successful rapid rehousing programs:

    • Overview: Why rapid rehousing and core components
    • Housing Barrier Assessment
    • Landlord Relationships and Housing Search
    • Home-based Voluntary Service Model and Leveraging Community Services
    • Program Orientation and Outcomes


    To register, please email the following information to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


    • Name
    • Title (if applicable)
    • Organization


    Additional questions about this training may also be directed to Kassandra.



    Addendum 1 to the Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum Of Care - 2013 Continuum Of Care Program Competition RFP Released 12/12/2013


    As required in the Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum of Care 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition Request for Proposals, released 12/12/13, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI), as the Collaborative Applicant, is hereby posting responses to all written questions as Addendum 1 to the 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition RFP Released 12/12/2013.


    This addendum addresses all of the questions received and amends the threshold requirements.  Housing First is no longer included in the criteria as pass/fail.  Any applicant indicating a project is not adopting the Housing First Model must include the justification with their application.  Refer to Question C13 for more details.


    THHI is also providing the final PIT (Point in Time Count) and Unmet Need analysis as submitted to HUD which are referenced in the questions.


    As requested by some agencies, we have created a ‘fill-in’ version of the RFP Attachment 6, “Agency Information” form and RFP Attachment 7, “Additional questions not included in esnaps” form.  Applicant’s are not required to use the ‘fill-in’ version of these forms.


    For additional information or clarifications, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



    United Way Suncoast Releases Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP)


    Notice is hereby given that Hillsborough County and Pinellas County will receive funds for the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program.  EFSP funds are Federal Funds made available through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency- or FEMA.  Local boards for both counties, representing local government entities, provider agencies, and funding bodies will determine how the funds are to be distributed among emergency food and shelter agencies in Hillsborough and Pinellas.


    Under the terms of the grant from the National Board, local agencies or government entities chosen to receive funds must:


    • be private, voluntary non-profits or units of government serving the community for a minimum of three years,
    • have an accounting system and conduct an annual audit,
    • practice nondiscrimination
    • have demonstrated collaboration to avoid duplication of services,
    • have demonstrated capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs, and
    • have a voluntary board if they are a private voluntary organization.


    Qualifying organizations may apply by visiting for the necessary forms.  The deadline for applications to be received both electronically and in hard copy is Friday, February 7th at noon for Pinellas applicants and Friday, March 14th at noon for Hillsborough applicants. Please make sure the application, budget, and all certifications and releases are included. Please note that a mandatory orientation will be offered for all new and returning applicants prior to submitting the forms.  Two dates are available:  Wednesday, January 15th from 10AM-12PM at the Juvenile Welfare Board in Pinellas or Thursday, January 16th from 9AM-11AM at United Way Suncoast in Hillsborough.  All organizations planning to submit an application must send a representative to one of these meetings.



    Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum of Care - 2013 Continuum of Care Program Competition - Request for Proposals


    As the Collaborative Applicant, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative is seeking proposals from qualified entities to be included in the 2013 application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Continuum of Care Program. The Department of Housing and Urban Development released the Notice of Funding Availability for the Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 Continuum of Care Program Competition on Friday, November 22, 2013.


    This Request for Proposals (RFP) provides all of the instructions and references needed to submit a renewal application, new application using funds that have been reallocated from an existing project, and the process that will be followed by the Collaborative Applicant to apply for planning costs.


    Based on the Reallocation Strategy approved by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, there is an estimated $2,134,349, available for new projects, $3,885,753 available for renewal projects, and $75,251 specifically dedicated for a new project application for planning costs. Details of eligible applicants and projects, along with the process for submitting an application are included in the NOFA. A technical assistance workshop for this RFP will be held Friday, December 13, 2013 for all interested applicants at 9:00 am at ACTS, 4612 N. 56th Street. Attendance is highly encouraged but not mandatory.


    The deadline for submitting a project application in response to this RFP is Tuesday, December 31, 2013.





    The FY 2013 - FY 2014 CoC Program Competition is Now Open


    The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition has been posted on the Funds Available page of HUD’s website ( and on HUD’s OneCPD Resource Exchange on the FY 2013 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program NOFA: CoC Program Competition page.  The deadline to submit the complete application to HUD is February 3, 2014 at 7:59:59 PM Eastern Time.


    The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (formerly known as the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, Inc.,) will be publishing a Request for Proposals for the funds available.  The maximum amount of funds available to renew existing projects and/or for new applications is $6,020,102, plus an additional $75,251 for planning costs.  Additional instructions will be made available at the CoC meeting December 5, 2013 at ACTS, 4612 N. 56th Street, at 9 a.m.  Questions will be addressed at the CoC meeting. Where questions are known in advance, you may email them to Edi at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


    It is imperative that project applicants read the CoC Program interim rule (available at to gain an understanding of the requirements of the program before applying for funding.



    The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County is now the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative.


    Our community has just finished a two-year process of evaluating our homeless and housing system of care, assisted by national homeless and housing experts and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  We are grateful to all who participated in this process.  Our new name is a result of the observations and recommendations from this process.


    The construction of the name was deliberate and signals a new direction for the community and our organization’s efforts to end homelessness in Hillsborough County. By definition, Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative means it is the Tampa Hillsborough community’s responsibility, collectively, to formulate and implement a single initiative with the goal of solving homelessness.


    In the coming months, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative will be leading the community in finalizing a single community initiative and implementation strategy based on best practices in housing, community ownership and the involvement of entities from all sectors of the community with the most influence and resources to solve homelessness.  The overarching goal will be to achieve sustainable permanent housing solutions for everyone in our community.


    Additionally, the next couple of months will be a time for us to update all our organization material, including the web site, to reflect our new name and this new direction.


    As someone who cares about their homeless neighbors – whether you work directly with homeless men, women and children through an agency or faith organization, as an employee or volunteer, a donor or advocate – you are invited to be part of this new direction, this new collective impact initiative which will provide a single, community direction to ending homelessness through permanent housing solutions in Hillsborough County.  Your first step is to sign up to receive email newsletters and information from us as this will allow you to be among the first to know about opportunities to help as well as share in the community’s successes in moving homeless men, women and children off the street and into permanent housing.


    Homeless Coalition Announces New Board of Directors

    Transitional board to focus on single community implementation strategy to end homelessness.

    Following a two-year process working with leaders from local nonprofits, businesses and governments, national experts and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to evaluate, advise, and develop a framework to end homelessness in Hillsborough County, the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County announced today the appointment of a new ‘transitional’ board of directors.


    “During this process, a lot was learned about our community’s homeless system of care with regard to great work that is being done, as well as areas where improvements can be made,” said Maria Barcus, CEO of the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County.  “One of the changes that came out of this lengthy process was a need to change our organization’s governance structure, with an underlying understanding that homelessness is a community issue and not the sole responsibility of the Homeless Coalition or nonprofit service providers to solve.”


    The first step in the restructuring of the Homeless Coalition, whose mission is to bring together various entities, agencies, service organizations, and individuals to establish and maintain a concentrated effort to break the cycle of homelessness in Hillsborough County, Florida, was to change from a membership to a non-membership organization.  General consensus was that there was a conflict of interest with regard to allocating funding to member organizations, even with disclosures and membership votes supporting the allocations.  Early this month, the membership approved this organizational change.

    “While our governance structure has changed, our mission and role in the community has not,” said Barcus.  “The Homeless Coalition will continue to serve as the lead agency for the Tampa-Hillsborough County homeless continuum of care including the completion and submission of this community’s grant application for HUD’s annual Homeless Assistance Grant.”


    Over the next year, the transitional board will focus on two key tasks.  First, they will be responsible for formulating a single community implementation strategy based on best practices, community ownership, and the involvement of entities from all sectors of the community with the most influence and resources to end homelessness in Hillsborough County.  Secondly, they will develop a permanent organizational structure for both the Homeless Coalition and Tampa/Hillsborough County homeless continuum of care.


    The Homeless Coalition’s transitional board members are:


    Guy King

    M.E. Wilson Co., president; Gracepoint, board member; Steps Forward, board member

    Mike Merrill

    Hillsborough County, county administrator

    Sandra L. Murman

    Hillsborough County, commissioner, vice chair, District 1

    Bob Buckhorn

    City of Tampa, mayor

    Tod Leiweke

    Tampa Bay Lightning, CEO, Steps Forward, board member

    David Reed

    Shepard Capital Partners, president, Steps Forward, board member

    John McKibbon

    McKibbon Hotels, president; Metropolitan Ministries, board member; Tampa General Hospital, board member

    Joseph W. Clark

    Eckerd, board member

    James Shimberg, Jr.

    Tampa Bay Lightning, executive vice president and general counsel; James and Amy Family Foundation, board member

    Emery Ivery

    United Way Suncoast, Tampa Bay president

    Grace Posada

    Hillsborough County Public Schools, department manager, strategic initiatives, communications and marketing


    There are currently two vacancies on the transitional board that will be filled next month to ensure representation of nonprofit homeless service providers on the board.  Additionally, the board may appoint additional members and committees.







    500 Homes Forward to Ending Chronic Homelessness

    500 Homes Forward is a local campaign to focus existing and new resources on ending chronic homelessness in Hillsborough County, with the goal of housing 500 chronically homeless individuals in five years, with the wrap around support services they need to become self-sufficient. The focus of the campaign is to identify, by name and situation, every chronically homeless person in our community, and then through collaborations and partnerships with community housing programs, to prioritize these individuals and households for housing, when there are openings.


    There are many reasons to focus on getting homeless people into housing quickly. First and foremost is that the mortality rate of chronically homeless people is high. Living on the street can cut as many as 25 years off a person's life. Additionally, countless studies in communities across the nation have shown that although this population represents about 10 percent of the total homeless population, they consume more than 50 percent of the system's resources. The cost of allowing people to remain homeless exceeds the cost, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars, of providing permanent housing. This is because homeless people utilize a lot of expensive services, such as frequent emergency room visits for non-emergency illnesses and disease management. Housing those who are chronically homeless frees up resources to help other homeless households.


    While the 500 Homes Forward campaign began in May and has successfully housed 60 homeless individuals and households in the community, the first official 'registry' event is took place in conjunction with the 2013 Homeless Count in Hillsborough County. When a homeless person was encountered during the 2013 homeless count that was also chronically homeless, meaning the person has a disability, and been homeless consecutively for a year, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in three years, they were asked to complete some additional questions related to the "500 Homes Forward" effort. This additional information will be used to follow up with the person as housing opportunities become available and are developed. During the 2011 Homeless Count, 700 men and women were identified as chronically homeless.


    The 500 Homes Forward project is being spearheaded by the Homeless Coalition in partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Tampa Housing Authority, Mental Health Care Inc. and Tampa Crossroads.


    The key to the success of the 500 Homes Forward effort is the partnerships. As a community we will in essence review the information on each chronically homeless person, and discuss who has housing or will have housing available and match them accordingly. The 500 Homes Forward project is officially part of Community Solutions' national 100,000 Homes Campaign program, which has become a national model for reducing / eliminating chronic homelessness in major urban areas.


    Unfortunately there are not enough resources to house every homeless person today. There are many ways the community can help house chronically homeless men and women. Developers and owners of large housing properties could donate an apartment or two to provide housing to someone. Faith and service groups could choose to do a fundraiser to cover housing expenses for a person for a year, or put together 'move-in kits' with cleaning supplies, towels and linens, pots and pans. For more information about the 500 Homes Forward campaign, and how you can help, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


    Tampa / Hillsborough County Continuum of Care Monthly Meeting

    Please attend the monthly Homeless Coalition meetings on the first Thursday of every month to participate in developing the next steps to implement the plan and address gaps in services for individuals and families who are homeless.

    NEXT MEETING: Thursday, June 6, 2013, 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at the Agency for Community Treatment Services (ACTS), 4612 N. 56th St., Tampa, FL.  Please join us for networking from 8:30 to 9 a.m.



    Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF)

    The SSVF program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), aims to improve very low-income Veteran families' housing stability. SSVF was awarded to the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County in partnership with Tampa Crossroads and Bay Area Legal Service.  To learn more about the SSVF program click here.


    Veteran's Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program (VHPD)

    Are you a veteran with limited income or are you unemployed? Are you and your family at risk of becoming hommeless? If so, the VHPD project may be able to assist you. For more information about the VHPD project click here.




    MAIN: 813-223-6115 | FAX: 813-223-6178 | P.O. BOX 360181, TAMPA, FL, 33673-0181 |