Cold weather shelters opening in Hillsborough County for Tuesday night

Four cold weather shelters will open in Hillsborough County on Tuesday night as temperatures plummet in the Tampa Bay area.

City officials announced the county's cold weather shelters program will be activated Tuesday night for the homeless and those who live in homes without adequate heat. 

Temperatures are expected to dip as low as 46 degrees and possibly even below 40 degrees with wind chill overnight in Hillsborough County.


Shelter organizers are expecting high demand with limited capacity and encourage residents who need a warm place to stay to use resources like friends and family as a first option. 

All the following shelters will take in guests from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. unless they reach capacity first:

  • Hyde Park United Methodist Church (Preferred Media Location) 500 W. Platt St., Tampa, FL 33606
  • Tampa Bay Mission of Hope  212 S. St. Cloud Ave. Building A, Valrico, FL 33594
  • New Life Church (Pet Friendly) 8216 N. 13th St. Tampa, FL 33604
  • Legacy Church (New Location) 3416 N. 15th St., Tampa, FL 33605

At Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa, volunteers spent the day setting up enough mats and blankets for at least 80 people.

"To be able to provide a night that they can rest comfortably at least somewhat in a safe place is really important," said Heidi Aspinwall, Hyde Park United Methodist Church's interim coordinator for missions and outreach.

Each person coming in gets a warm meal Tuesday night and a take-home breakfast Wednesday morning.

"They'll have a hot meal tonight for dinner, and then they'll have a takeaway meal in the morning. A lot of folks need to get to work. Our volunteers also need to get to work, and so we'll have to reset, clean up, and then we just have to hope that it warms up," Aspinwall said.

Also working hard to help is Metropolitan Ministries. Their volunteers spent Tuesday afternoon preparing hundreds of meals for the shelters.

"So many families are struggling because of the cost of housing, the cost of food, so many pressures on their family resources that they're finding themselves in tough situations," said Christine Long, Metropolitan Ministries' executive vice president. 

They're also housing at least 350 people, but even though they're at capacity, they aren't turning people away. According to city officials, Metropolitan Ministries is supplying a limited number of single-night motel vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis for families with minor children.

"If there's more cold weather, we're going to be here standing alongside families in need and helping as many folks as we possibly can," Long said.

All congregate shelters are reserved for adults only. Families with minor children are encouraged to call 813-209-1176 to register.