12/1/2007: Pinellas Hope, a program of Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg opened on 10 acres of land provided by Bishop Robert N. Lynch and the Diocese of St. Petersburg. It was developed as a pilot program in response to the homelessness crisis in St. Petersburg and was expected to be open only five months.
9/7/2010: Bishop Lynch dedicated and blessed Pinellas Hope II. This expansion of the homeless shelter run by Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg with support from local and state governments includes a community center with permanent offices, kitchen, meeting rooms, and a covered dining area replacing temporary trailers. It also includes 80 apartments for permanent supportive housing as residents of Pinellas Hope prepare to return to regular housing.
11/19/14: A Groundbreaking event was held for the next three phases of Permanent Supportive Housing for the homeless. This project was to add five buildings with 76 permanent supportive apartments for the homeless in Pinellas County, 40 of which were to be dedicated to Veterans. Funding for this new housing came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Pinellas County for Phase III with Florida Housing Finance Corp helping finance Phases IV and V. Then director, Pam Long, said: “The ongoing growth of this camp has allowed homeless adults to naturally and successfully transition from homelessness, to emergency shelter to permanent housing. With 80 units of permanent housing currently available on site, we continually have a waiting list due to the vast need.”
4/7/16: Bishop Lynch dedicated and blessed Hope Cottages (R). Hope Cottages are 20-foot steel shipping containers that are reconfigured to create three separate living spaces for residents of Pinellas Hope. They represent a dramatic step-up from tents in terms of quality of life for the residents as they offer safety (can withstand a Cat IV hurricane), security (lockable doors), and comfort (air conditioned, bed, night light, window, electrical and USB outlets). Initiated by the Knights of Columbus of St. Raphael (Council #15701), the $1.5 million initiative was to replace 150 tents with fifty, 3-room cottages. Fr. Kevin Mackin, OSB, parochial vichar of St. Raphael, and chaplain to the St. Raphael Knights of Columbus gave the invocation while the Knights of Columbus color guard was present to celebrate the event along with staff, dignitaries, volunteers, benefactors, and various city officials as well as Pinellas county officials.
4/18/17: Bishop Gregory L. Parkes dedicated and blessed the 76 efficiency units comprising Pinellas Hope III, IV, and V.
12/1/17: Bishop Gregory L. Parkes celebrated the 10th anniversary of Pinellas Hope. Mayor Baker, who was part of the founding group of Pinellas Hope, along with Mayor Cretekos of Clearwater, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, a strong advocate for Pinellas Hope, former Catholic Charities President, Frank Murphy, former Catholic Charities COO, Sheila Lopez, the latter two being driving forces behind Pinellas Hope’s creation, were present along with other dignitaries, staff, benefactors and most importantly, residents.
4/1/18: Bishop Gregory L. Parkes became the first Bishop to celebrate Easter Mass with the residents of Pinellas Hope.
10/20/20: Bishop Gregory L. Parkes blessed the new Medical Respite trailer (medical clinic with offices and patient rooms) donated by BayCare Health Systems’ St. Anthony’s Hospital. St. Anthony’s provides medical respite care at Pinellas Hope to post-operative homeless individuals who were released but at-risk of complications and subsequent re-admittance to a hospital.
Today: Pinellas Hope continues it’s mission on 20 acres of land to provide a safe living environment for homeless individuals and support to become self sufficient. Since it’s opening Pinellas Hope has served well over 1.7 million meals and helped over 10,000 homeless men and women.