Challenge: Our Tampa neighbors struggling with homelessness, attempting to enter the workforce have extreme challenges trying to get off the street. For our motivated, qualified, single men, the challenges are far more extreme:
- Tampa agency programming, offering single men’s programs including housing has not existed since mid-1980s except for ex-offenders.
- Starting salaries of our tenants are typically minimum wage (about $8/hr.)
- These men often have prior financial commitments, such as child support payments, suspended driver’s license charges, or drug recovery treatment charges.
- Lack of Tampa affordable housing at all levels not being addressed. (see 2019 United Way ALICE Report)
- A typical apartment requires a down payment equal to at least two month’s rent.
- Critical, wrap-around support services to help stabilize these men are required.
3411 E Yukon Street Tampa, FL
These access obstacles for affordable housing make it almost impossible for these men to transform to self-sufficiency. Also, other than the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative’s Housing First model with its resources focus on chronically homeless – veterans, disabled, chemically dependent and those with behavioral health issues, there has been a steady decline in government agency and/or charity organization assistance available for nonmilitary, single homeless men with scarce, viable options on the horizon.
How can Love INC’s mobilized faith communities help address this bridge housing gap?
Solution: Portico Workforce Housing Solutions
Mission: mobilize local Christian churches and their trained members to transform the lives of single men struggling with homelessness and our Tampa community, in the Name of Christ.
July 2016: To help meet this critical community bridge (six + months) housing gap, in July 2016, Hyde Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC), the Portico, Love INC (in the Name of Christ) of Metro Tampa (Love INC), and Tampa landlord / member of HPUMC, Second Half Properties, Inc. launched Love INC of Metro Tamp INC, dba Portico Workforce Housing Solutions. Second Half Properties provided at their cost a centrally located 3-bedroom house located at 2924 E MLK Jr. with a washer and dryer for the Initiative, and separate rooms available for rent for $300/month with a $100 deposit.
Outcomes to date: 36% success rate! Since July 2016 we have enrolled 22 vetted, qualified men in our six-month housing program and eight have bridged from homeless to permanent housing. “Dave”, our first tenant transitioned to his own studio apartment in December, 2016 and is now completely self-sufficient. One resident transitioned from temporary labor to full time employment with benefits. Another is employed as an electrician and getting his journeyman’s license.
Love Story – “Terry” – was referred to us October, 2017 after two prison terms and graduating from Abe Brown’s Ready4Work and Metropolitan Ministry’s Culinary Arts program. His six-month case plan, bridging him from the street to permanent housing, required him to establish a bank relationship and saving $250/month for housing deposits and rent. At month four, he was case plan compliant, has been promoted twice, saved $3,000 and acquired his own truck.
Your help: we have an extensive list of men seeking the same opportunity. Therefore, we need resources to expand the program. If our program; affordable bridge housing with accountability, is what you seek in a nonprofit undertaking, please consider joining our faith journey by investing in our Initiative allowing us to buy another house. We have $70,000 on deposit to invest in transforming more lives! Help us assist qualified, motivated, employed men who are serious about restoring their dignity and improving our community.
Who are your initiative leaders and their roles?
- Justin LaRosa: 813 482 8008 cell The Portico Director, Minister / wraparound support services including counseling and behavioral health
- Joe Franz: 813 928 5530 cell HPUMC member and landlord / property management
- Roger Copp: 813 431 4959 cell HPUMC member / Open Arms ACCESS Help Desk volunteer / potential tenant identification, screening and wraparound support services
- Vicki Walker: HPUMC Mission’s Director / Initiative Advisor
Who owns the house?
Our first house is owned and managed by Second Half Properties. Our second home is owned by Love INC of Metro Tampa INC, dba Portico Workforce Housing Solutions, a 501c3 nonprofit registered in Florida and managed by Second Half Properties.
Is a signed, tenant/landlord understanding in place with each tenant?
At lease signing, tenants also sign a landlord Tenant Understanding detailing all aspects of our covenant with tenant, including supporting each other in a communal living setting. Tenants incurring two violations of understanding – late rents, violating house rules are asked to leave. Additionally, a Case Plan for each tenant is assembled and agreed to support their efforts to stabilize themselves and earn permanent housing.
Are wraparound support services available for tenants?
Yes; Since we inspect the property weekly, verify rents paid and interface with our tenants monthly with case plan reviews, we are aware of possible support needs early in our relationship. The Portico staff is available for spiritual and emotional support. Love INC is intentionally relational, looking for multiple opportunities to ‘love on’ our tenants. Tenants agree to meet our support team the last Sunday of every month to review case plan progress, address issues, attend financial management classes to help them transform their lives, attend The Portico’s worship service and more.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes; donors can deduct contributions to Love INC under IRC Section 170. Checks can be made payable to: Love INC of Metro Tampa with ‘Portico Workforce Housing Solutions’ in the memo line. Your donation and tax receipt will follow shortly after donation is made.
How will your donation be safeguarded?
Donations are audited annually and held in a restricted Portico Workforce Housing Solutions account by Bank of Tampa used only with Love INC BOD oversight and approval for acquiring workforce housing for single men struggling with homelessness. We have a thorough vetting process for tenant accountability including background screening to insure your donations are invested prudently.
What other volunteer help is needed? Mentor coaches to “love on” each of our tenants.
In addition to financial donations, we need long term support as mentor coaches and trained resource navigators, in a one-on-one faith journey walk in accountability, linking tenant needs with community support services. (Training provided)
Are you being called to come and journey in our ministry to help serve in ways that transform the lives of our tenant guests, volunteers, their churches and our Tampa community?
Bay Hope Church’s Keith and tenant Michael
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”
– Luke 10:2