St. Pete approves $2.5M contract with St. Vincent DePaul to help homeless families
Coronavirus is making life on the streets even more frightening.

The $2.5 million contract will allow the city to help about 50 homeless families a year as they transition to permanent housing.

The St. Petersburg City Council Thursday approved a contract agreement with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul South Pinellas to provide “scattered site” shelter services for homeless families.

The $2.5 million contract will allow the city to help about 50 homeless families a year as they transition to permanent housing. The contract funds come from the $45 million St. Pete was awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“This is good news that is effective immediately and I don’t think we talk about that enough sometimes,” Council member Copley Gerdes said. “We could immediately make a dent in the families that are homeless here in St. Petersburg. It makes my heart happy to vote on something that is immediately going to make an impact.”

St. Petersburg is facing a housing crisis thanks to continued economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with rising rents and inflation at among the highest rates in the nation. The situation has gotten so bad that residents threatened to set up a tent city in protest of the city’s housing situation.

Community Affairs Director Theresa Jones said an already dire problem was only exacerbated when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its eviction moratorium in October. She said St. Petersburg is becoming overburdened by not just homeless individuals, but whole families forced to live in cars and abandoned buildings to find shelter.

“We have increasing numbers of families that are becoming homeless,” Jones said. “If you look at the current data from the Clerk of Courts Office, there’s been increasing numbers of evictions occurring in Pinellas County and it literally increased a lot after October 2021.”

Jones said the need is only increasing. As she prepared a presentation on the contract for the City Council earlier this week, the county had 74 families on a waiting list for sheltering. By Thursday’s meeting, that number increased to 84 families.

The city said St. Vincent DePaul was the only respondent to a request for proposal, but staff couldn’t find any weakness in its service. The organization already provides similar services and will now provide four staff members dedicated to St. Pete families with minor children. A supervisor will oversee two case managers, who will be limited to 12 or 13 families each at a given time, and one housing expert.

The families will be housed in hotels and apartments while case workers look to find affordable housing options. The city said the sheltering and rehousing process should take about six months for each family, meaning the program could help about 50 families per year.

The contract is effective immediately and runs through December 2024.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected]

One comment

  • Comment

    March 24, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    But they will ruin the retail consumer and all that vanity’s lawns. They must die triplets their rents. one lives here unless they have cash flow to serve us.

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