PINELLAS PARK — Pinellas Hope is more than doubling its fundraising goal to build lodging for the county's homeless population out of shipping containers that officials say are more durable and comfortable than tents.
The shelter, run by Catholic Charities, is upping the goal from $1.25 million to $3.25 million, said Lou Ricardo, director of marketing and development. The extra money will be used to build 30 more "Hope Cottages" than the initial goal, bringing the total to 80. Each container houses three people. The funding will also be used to meet city regulations to build a system of roads for emergency vehicles and redo the facility's drainage.
"They protect them against the hurricane winds, they protect them against flooding and the most important thing is it's improving the level of dignity for these folks," Ricardo said of the cottages. The shelter will retain about 30 of its 300 tents.
To donate, call (727) 893-1315 or go to hopecottages.org, or visit or mail a check to Catholic Charities at 1213 16th St. N in St. Petersburg.