Sunday, July 15, 2018
News Roundup

New shelter aims to aid homeless in west Pasco

HUDSON

It was time to get the show on the road. Sue Campbell made her way past the rows of folded chairs to the front of the newly painted room to quiet the din of local notables and guests gathered for the grand opening of the ROPE Center's new sleep facility.

Then she apologized for the poor acoustics.

In a month's time, the white walls wouldn't feel so stark, and the ship-gray concrete floor would be covered with beds and footlockers that would dull the echoes.

"This has been a long time coming," Campbell said as her eyes welled up.

The new facility is the next step in a bigger vision, one that expands upon a ministry Jim and Sue Campbell started in 2009 when they opened the ROPE (Resource, Outreach, Prayer, Empowerment) Transitional Living Facility on a three-quarter-acre lot on Rhodes Road, off U.S. 19.

The Campbells, who also serve as pastors of the Prayer House on Ranch Road in Port Richey, have followed what Sue Campbell calls a "God-driven plan," providing a variety of services to the homeless through the ROPE Center and at their Community OutReach Center, at 14241 Water Tower Drive in Hudson.

Along with temporary housing, their mission provides clothing, bathing facilities, a soup kitchen, cellphones, mail services, support group meetings for alcoholics and substance abusers, educational and employment assistance, medical and eye exam referrals and more.

There are plenty of people to help. In January 2015, the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County counted 1,045 homeless people in Pasco County. Of those, 886 were unsheltered.

According to Sue Campbell, some 700 individuals have stayed at the ROPE Center shelter since 2009. More than 5,000 — including repeat customers — have taken advantage of services.

"We knew from the get-go that this would be a vast undertaking," Jim Campbell said. "So many people have already come through here. Most of them have come out with a better life."

Now there's a way to help more in a 2,400-square-foot building on stilts that sits adjacent to the ROPE Center. It is simple and modest in design, a bare-bones kind of endeavor that provides space for separate bathroom facilities and beds for up to 20 men and 20 women.

"We wanted to do something different rather than a traditional transitional facility," Sue Campbell said, noting that budgetary concerns also weighed into that decision. "This sleep center is a place where they can just come in and have safe shelter at night."

The roughly $420,000 for the building and land came from a Pasco County Community Development Block Grant, the State Housing Initiative Program and housing mitigation funds, said George Romagnoli, community development director for Pasco County.

The new dorms will offer a bed and storage for up 90 days for those who follow the Christian-based program to transition from the streets to employment and permanent housing.

There is no kitchen, but clients are welcome to frequent the Community OutReach Center soup kitchen, which provides continental breakfast daily and a meal on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, Sue Campbell said, adding they are working to find a solution for the other days.

"We are forming liaisons within the community with churches and places like Metropolitan Ministries that have food deliveries for the other days and some (clients) are eligible for food stamps so they can purchase their own food," she said. "My husband also has a vision for a mobile kitchen or food truck that would service more than one facility."

Presently the Campbells are working on fundraising to purchase bunk beds, footlockers and dividers for privacy.

The sleep facility brings them one step along their chosen path to help the homeless. But there's still a long way to go.

ROPE only provides shelter for single men and women, and that's not good enough, Sue Campbell said.

"There's such a need for family facilities," she said. "The calls that we have to refer out on a daily basis would break your heart — a single mother with a child, a family that lost their home. Unfortunately, right now, not every one that calls for help fits our criteria."

Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] Follow @MicheleMiller52.

Comments
Rays journal: Wilson Ramos will miss All-Star Game

Rays journal: Wilson Ramos will miss All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS — C Wilson Ramos had been so looking forward to starting Tuesday's All-Star Game in Washington, where he played seven seasons and, depending on the latest rumor, could be returning via trade.But he lost that opportunity Saturday, wi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays’ Blake Snell: This is how a Star is born

Rays’ Blake Snell: This is how a Star is born

MINNEAPOLIS — Blake Snell didn't know where he was headed at this time last year.Having made a couple of unimpressive starts after rejoining the Rays following a six-week demotion to Triple A he earned with a brutal beginning to what was suppos...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays roar back to blast Twins 19-6

Rays roar back to blast Twins 19-6

MINNEAPOLIS – There was a time late Saturday afternoon when things actually looked bad for the Rays in what turned out to be a very good day, a 19-6 victory that ensured a winning record at the All-Star break.Tampa Bay had given back an early l...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Twins game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Twins game

As offensively challenged as the Rays have been much of this season, Saturday was the fifth time in their past 11 games they have scored eight or more runs. The reality check: All against the Marlins, Mets, Tigers and Twins.OF Carlos Gomez hasn't had...
Updated: 9 hours ago
UPDATE: Rays C Wilson Ramos out of All-Star Game due to hamstring injury

UPDATE: Rays C Wilson Ramos out of All-Star Game due to hamstring injury

UPDATE. 6:45: Ramos said he will not be able to play in the All-Star Game and will be removed from the active roster but still plans to attend and take part in the festivities.He also said he "probably" will end up on the DL, which will cause the Ray...
Published: 07/14/18
A Florida corrections officer is accused of having sex with a woman on probation whom he oversaw

A Florida corrections officer is accused of having sex with a woman on probation whom he oversaw

A probation officer with the Florida Department of Corrections who was working out of Tarpon Springs has been arrested on a charge that he had a sexual relationship with a woman whose probation he was overseeing.Jeffrey Thomas Desimone, 40, was arres...
Published: 07/14/18
 Endangered sea turtle found dead on Gulf shore with a beach chair around its neck

Endangered sea turtle found dead on Gulf shore with a beach chair around its neck

Early Saturday morning, beachgoers found a dead sea turtle on the shore of an Alabama beach.The Fort Morgan Share the Beach Facebook page posted that the Kemp’s Ridley turtle had been strangled by a chair. The group suspects that the chair had been i...
Published: 07/14/18
This Florida burger joint is one of the 10 best in America, travel website says

This Florida burger joint is one of the 10 best in America, travel website says

A 2½-hour drive south could land Tampa residents at one of America’s best burger joints, according the review and travel website TripAdvisor.com.The website released a list of the "10 Most Delectable Burger Joints" in America on Wednesday, placing Na...
Published: 07/14/18
Two apparent murder-suicides have occurred at the same St. Pete apartment complex this summer

Two apparent murder-suicides have occurred at the same St. Pete apartment complex this summer

A couple was found dead Friday night at a St. Petersburg apartment complex in an apparent murder-suicide, police said.It is the second suspected murder-suicide at the Vibe at Gateway on 77th Avenue N in the last five weeks. The apartment complex also...
Published: 07/14/18
A toddler left in a hot car in south Florida has died

A toddler left in a hot car in south Florida has died

A 17-month-old boy left in a car for about eight hours died after his mother parked the car and went to work. Pembroke Pines Police said the toddler’s mother left him in the car Friday morning after parking in a hospital parking lot. The Sun Sentine...
Published: 07/14/18