Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg will dedicate and bless a soon-to-be-reopened shelter on Wednesday.
The Pasco Women's Homeless Shelter in Hudson, formerly operated by Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services, was closed at the end of June when the group decided to look for another nonprofit to take over. It was the only shelter in the county open to single women and children who are not victims of domestic violence and can't stay at shelters run by agencies that serve those women.
Three agencies had expressed interest in taking over the shelter: Metropolitan Ministries, Catholic Charities and Ace Opportunities, which runs halfway houses for recovering drug addicts. Ultimately, Catholic Charities took over, in a deal overseen by the United Way of Pasco County.
Vasilios "Billy" Major, who works for the public defender's office doing social service work, said there's a tremendous need for the shelter in the county. Major said, as an example of who might benefit, that he encounters women in the legal system who get transferred into drug court and are ready to start outpatient treatment, but might not have a safe and sober place to go.
"Three months is a long time for homeless women to go without a shelter," Major said. "There's a real need for this in the county, and there's only one shelter that takes women and children. That's pretty astounding."