By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County cold weather shelters will open tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 18 and again Thursday, Feb. 19 for the homeless and those who live in homes without adequate heat.
According to the National Weather Service, the local wind chill factor is expected to drop as low as the upper 20sWednesdayevening through Thursday morning, while the wind chill is expected to dip into the low 20s Thursday evening into Fridaymorning.
County officials are urging individuals who need transportation assistance to a cold weather shelter in Hillsborough County to call (813) 272-7272 from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. to arrange transportation.
“We are asking individuals to call for transportation only if you are stranded in the cold weather or living in a home without adequate heat and have no way to physically get to a shelter” said County spokesperson Julie Watkinson.
Hillsborough County cold weather shelters are:
– Bethune Recreation Center, 5809 Edina St. in Wimauma
This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for adults and families
Phone: (813) 672-7881
– Brandon Community Center, 510 E. Sadie St. in Brandon
This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for homeless adults and families with children.
Phone: (813) 635-8179
– Jackson Springs Recreation Center, 8620 Jackson Springs Road in Town ‘N Country
This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for adults and families.
Phone: (813) 554-5004
– Metropolitan Ministries, 2106 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa
This location is where families go for motel vouchers beginning at 4 p.m.
After hours phone: (813) 209-1077
– Salvation Army, 1514 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa
This shelter opens at 4 p.m. and is for adults only.
After hours phone: (813) 221-4440
Watkinson said that Bethune Recreation Center, Brandon Community Center, Jackson Springs Recreation Center, and Metropolitan Ministries are also accepting donations, such as coats, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, blankets, disinfectant wipes and spray, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, disposable cups, coffee, creamer, paper plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, and sugar.
Metropolitan Ministries will accept donations at 2101 N. Florida Ave.
Donations made after hours should be placed in the drop box.
“Those wishing to donate supplies should contact each individual shelter,” Watkinson said.
Residents who need to be outside overnight or during the early morning hours are encouraged to dress in several warm layers and limit skin exposure to the wind.
Pets should not be left outside during the cold weather. The lower than normal temperatures combined with strong winds could produce dangerous wind chills.
For more information please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.