One wall at a time, metal and steel beams, wood frames and an idea have become a place many struggling families call home.
Metropolitan Ministries' Miracle Place opens this week. It provides brand new transitional housing to 52 families and individuals who need a hand up, like Amy Elam. She gave tours at Monday's open house.
Miracle Place is home now for her and her daughter.
"She cried and said 'mommy look, I have my own room again.' And that's heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time because you forget that those are the little things that kids want," said Elam.
Miracle Place is next to Metro Ministries on Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa. It more than doubles the number of families the organization can provide shelter to each year. The new units are two bedrooms, 450 square feet, with central air.
Miracle Place also offers counseling and educational services.
"We have a strong education model here. We want the kids to get back up to speed with their reading and math skills. We want moms and dads to get their GEDs and vocational skills, so that they can find employment," said Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks.
There's a new playground and a new dining room that seats 160 people. Metro Ministries believes hope begins with a meal.
"We have to have a place for homeless families to stay together while they figure out what they're going to do with their lives," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, who attended the open house.
Elam and her husband are applying for jobs and working on a fresh start.
"They have provided some security," said Elam. "I no longer have to worry about what I'm going to feed my daughter, how cold she is at night."
Residents stay at Miracle Place for three months to a year.
"To see this community wrap their arms around these families and love them, that's what we saw, just tremendous appreciation and gratitude from our families," said Marks.
Miracle Place was a $23 million project paid for by grants, donations, and financing. Metro Ministries' old housing units will be renovated.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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