Pasco shelter could get extension to move 40 residents

They say it's important to have a work-life balance. For Lisa Barabas-Henry, her work is her life.

She’s managed and lived at the Holy Ground Homeless Shelter for the past 27 years, giving shelter to the most helpless.

Residents say Barabas-Henry gave them a place to go when no one else would.

Stevie came to the shelter years ago. Lisa says he suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Then there’s Art Helmrich, who has been at the shelter for five years.

“I had no place to go,” Helmrich said. “So I heard about this place, and I came here about five years ago. Lisa took me in, and gave me a home.”

It’s a home they might end up losing. The landowner is looking to sell and she’s giving Lisa and all 40 clients until the end of November to get out.

Tuesday morning, Lisa stood before the Pasco County Commission asking for help. Commissioner Jack Mariano gave her some hope.

“I actually reached out to who I believe is the landowner trying to get her an extension at least until the end of January,” Mariano said.

It eases some of the anxiety.

“I have more time to move the people,” Lisa said, through tears. “But she hasn’t agreed yet.”
If she doesn’t, residents like Art say, he doesn’t know what will happen.

“Where am I going to go, if we can’t find a place?” he said. “Am I just going to pack my stuff and hobble around the streets?”

Even with more time, the end result is the same, everyone has to go. But go where?

“I don't know where they're going to go,” Lisa said. “Back on the streets and be another statistic?”
But she says, one thing is for certain. “We're running out of time. Time is of the essence, and we need it. we need just a little more time."