Nearly 8,000 thousand children are considered homeless around Tampa Bay. That's according to Metropolitan Ministries, where they are working on a new facility to accommodate the need.
One wall at a time, the metal and steel beam structure will become a home for many struggling families. It's a chance to turn their lives around. Metropolitan Ministries' Miracle Place is set to open in July.
Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks says it will be an improvement families will certainly feel.
"For the families that have been here and are staying at this facility that was built 25 years ago, it's a blessing for them and they'll tell you that. But they'll also tell you, at times, that it felt like a prison," explained Marks.
Miracle Place is next to Metro Ministries current facility on Florida Avenue in Tampa. It will house an additional 50 homeless families with children. The new units are two bedrooms and 450 square feet.
"So that mom can do homework and the kids can do homework," said Marks. "We many have situations where the older units were small, single room, 260 square feet."
Metro Ministries provides GED classes for its clients.
After Miracle Place is finished, families from the old facility, called the Family Care Center, will move into the new one. And the old housing units, built in 1985, will be remodeled to make room for more families. Metro will be able to serve twice as many families residentially.
Miracle Place will also cut down Metro's waiting list for people like Rubenna Williams and her 6-year-old daughter. Williams had to wait a couple of months to get into Metro last year.
"When you're on a waiting list, you have to worry about where you are going to go ... You have to worry about what you're going to eat, providing for your kids, where you're going to stay at for a week, three days, maybe a month," said Williams, who hopes to transition into her own place by the time Miracle Place opens.
Families will be able to make use of multi-purpose community rooms with big windows and also a larger dining facility.
The hope is that Miracle Place will serve as transitional housing -- just one stop on the journey from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
The project will provide 125 construction jobs and 25 additional staff jobs at Metropolitan Ministries. So far, they've raised $15 million of their $23 million goal. Marks says they're raised the funds through city grants, donations, and financing. Metro Ministries is looking for more donations and also volunteers.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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