HOPE

Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality

Background

HOPE’s mission is to actively live our spiritual values of fairness, justice and dignity of people. HOPE is a vehicle for our congregations to engage and train hundreds of residents in Hillsborough County to responsibly act together to improve the systems affecting the quality of life in our communities. We do that by identifying common community problems, researching long-term solutions, and publicly engaging decision-makers to implement those systemic solutions.

Impact

HOUSING

  • Affordable Housing: Got Hillsborough County to pass a county ordinance – the HOPE Affordable Housing Act – that established a local Affordable Housing Trust Fund of at least $10 million annually of local county funds to create, rehab and preserve affordable housing. In 2019-2020, $15 million was given to local agencies to create more multi-family rental housing that is affordable for families with very low and low incomes.
  • Birth Certificates and IDs: Got Hillsborough County to establish a program to assist people who are homeless in getting birth certificates and IDs in order to obtain housing and jobs.
  • Rent: The County and Clerk of Circuit Court committed to expedite rent assistance checks, so landlords receive payments within 14 days and are more likely to provide housing.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

  • Civil Citations: Got the State Attorney, Sheriff, Police Chiefs, Chief Judge, and Public Defender to establish permanent policy that greatly increased the number of misdemeanor offenses eligible for Youth Civil Citations to stop the arrests of children, protect their futures, increase public safety, and save taxpayer money. Helped expand Florida Civil Citation law so officers can give children Civil Citations up to 3 times for misdemeanors, to expand non-arrest diversion programs to all counties, and for more Law Enforcement accountability.
  • Crisis Intervention Training: Got the Tampa Police Chief to begin training all 1,000 officers in Crisis Intervention Training to de-escalate situations, reduce harm and prevent people with mental illness from ending up in jail.

HEALTH CARE

  • Elder Care: Got the County to increase in-home services for seniors to live with dignity in their homes by annually allotting $2.5 million to the Department of Aging Services.
  • Dental Services: Increased dental services for people with low incomes by gaining at least 36 more dental chairs and construction of additional clinics.
  • Behavioral Health: Helped expand Drug Court so more non-violent offenders get needed treatment instead of jail.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Fair Chance Hiring: Persuaded Tampa City Council to pass the Tampa Criminal History Screening Practices Ordinance to reduce discrimination and open doors to jobs for people with criminal records by taking the question about arrests off all the City of Tampa’s job applications.
  • Job Training: Got Hillsborough Community College to create 9 Fast Track Job Skill Certificate Programs to equip people with job skills and do outreach to the unemployed..
  • Jobs: Helped establish the Tampa Women/Minority Business Enterprise Ordinance.

EDUCATION REFORM

  • Suspensions: Got the School District to establish the Alternative To Out of School Suspension program, which each year supervises and protects the GPAs of thousands of suspended children, enabling them to stay in school and graduate.
  • Reading: Got $921,000 in state funding for Hillsborough School District to implement the Direct Instruction (DI) Reading Recovery program for children in 10 low performing elementary schools. Helped get $7.25 million in state funding for DI in 7 Florida School Districts.
  • Minority Teachers: Won employment of a Minority Teacher Recruiter by the School District to hire more Black & Hispanic teachers.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Bus Service: Got the HART Bus System to extend late night bus service until 1 AM on 8 major routes so people can get to and from jobs, and 2 extra hours on Saturdays.

CRIME PREVENTION

  • Prostitution: Got Code Enforcement and Tampa Police Department to clean up prostitution & illegal drug activity near congregation with health clinic and day care center.

NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENT

  • Rezoning: Reclaimed Dobyville, a historic African American residential neighborhood, by getting Tampa to reverse 1950 Industrial Zoning to Residential and Mixed Use leading to development of new and old housing.
  • Demolition: Encouraged Tampa Mayor to demolish and clean up the abandoned Belmont Heights Lumber Company, a dangerous health, safety, and fire hazard.
  • Sidewalks: Won construction of a 1.2-mile sidewalk on 22nd Street in East Tampa at a cost of $65,000 to the City of Tampa, leading to the construction of many other sidewalks in the area.
  • Code Enforcement: Got City of Tampa to demolish or rehab 200 abandoned and/or condemned buildings, cut 100 overgrown empty lots, gaining 50% increase in the City of Tampa Code Enforcement Budget.
  • Infrastructure: Won traffic signs, street repair, drainage, and upgraded street lighting in Ybor City, Belmont, Tampa and Jackson Heights from Department of Public Works.

Read more about HOPE in the news.

Current Membership

HOPE is currently comprised of 25 congregations representing a diverse mix of race, culture, economic levels and religious traditions throughout Hillsborough County.

Contact Us

www.hillsboroughHOPE.org

5103 N. Central
Tampa, FL 33603

(813) 221-HOPE

Lead Organizer: Rev. Sharon Streater
sharon@hillsboroughHOPE.org

Associate Organizer: Kaitlyn Hicks
kaitlyn@hillsboroughhope.org