Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

New Metropolitan Ministries facility offers hope to the homeless

HOLIDAY — Desperate. Lonely. Negative. Violent.

Jamie uses those words to describe her family's life as she descended into homelessness. The 26-year-old — whose last name is not being used because she is a victim of domestic violence — recalled recently sharing a twin bed with her three young children in a friend's home, after years of bouncing around. Drugs and domestic violence were the catalysts for much of what had gone wrong with previous boyfriends.

Jamie and her kids — ages 5, 4, and 2 — ultimately would end up in a hotel room, an option that would not last long as money ran out.

"We were literally going to be on the street," she said.

The holidays were rapidly approaching, and Jaime heard about a Toys for Tots program at Metropolitan Ministries Pasco headquarters at 3214 U.S. 19 in Holiday. She thought going might lift her kids' spirits. It would be a move that changed her life and made her a pioneer as one of the first families to take up residence in a new facility that offers three to six months of temporary housing for families.

During her visit, Jamie ran into the Rev. Dan Campbell, director of development for Metropolitan Ministries Pasco, who asked about her situation and told her about Miracles of Pasco, a program she could apply for that could provide her family with transitional housing if she agreed to enter into a vigorous program that focuses on establishing and reaching educational, employment, medical, and therapy goals for tenants and their children. The program also provides assistance in securing permanent housing.

Soon, Jamie and her kids became one of seven families to be the first to live in a room at the new 12-unit building on the Metropolitan campus. Three days before Christmas, Jamie sat in her room, hugging her kids and basking in the promise of hope for a new life.

Jamie and her children all had their own beds and a bathroom. A piece of motivational art hung on the wall with new words to guide Jamie's progress: laugh, celebrate, love, dream, hope, learn and smile, among others.

The building also holds work centers with computers and rooms where the children have access to toys and interaction with other children. In addition, the program provides day care for the children as Jamie looks for a job. She has chosen to enter a nursing program as part of numerous goals she must meet to stay in the facility.

Miracles of Pasco is the county's first such housing facility, and there are plans to build an additional 12 units by summer on the campus. Campbell said Metropolitan Ministries had hoped the first 12 units would be filled by Christmas, but the agency had difficulty finding candidates who could pass a drug test. It is an indication of the work that still needs to be done in the community, he said.

"In Pasco, drugs are really a big issue; it's really a significant issue," he said. "We are talking about heroin, meth, prescription drugs, spice. These are really serious drugs."

Campbell said if potential candidates fail drug tests as part of the application process, Metropolitan works to integrate them into drug treatment programs offered by local partners. And if they succeed, they are welcome to apply again.

Jamie, however, did not need that, and she is glad to have found a home.

"This is stability for us. We consider this place home. Everyone here is like a family," she said. "I haven't seen a negative person yet. My kids need that."

Comments

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 6 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Fri., Dec. 15, midday:01 563 0000e_SRit95765Fri., Dec. 15, evening:12 287 1492e_SRit04851Fantasy 5Fri., Dec. 15...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is very little these days that can dampen the mood of Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise, whose Gators knocked off reigning national champion Stanford in Thursday’s NCAA semifinals and face Nebraska tonight for the title. Not...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 10 hours ago