The Tampa Bay area is a lovely place for seniors to live. The weather is temperate and the nearby beaches in St. Petersburg and Clearwater are close enough to make for enjoyable day trips. Of course, it’s the tax advantages that really draw seniors to Florida and that really help the elderly when they are living on fixed incomes. While the tax advantages help seniors stretch their limited dollars, often it’s an unexpected expense like a steep medical bill or home repair that makes it difficult to pay their expenses. The city of Tampa has rallied around its seniors to offer programs to help make ends meet.
The Hillsborough Community Action Program (CAP) is a program that uses blended funding from local agencies, state agencies, social service agencies, civic organizations, and charities to provide help with utility bills, rent payment assistance, and emergency shelter. The program helps homeless people, as well as people with low or moderate incomes. Help comes in the way of cash grants or help with utility bills, and can be short or long term. Two energy assistance programs include:
Elderly Home Energy Assistance Program (EHEAP): Seniors who have a heating or cooling emergency can get financial assistance up to $400 to prevent utility shut-off.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): Seniors with low to moderate incomes can get assistance of up to $600 for help with heating and cooling bills. Funds are limited and on a first come-first serve basis.
Bay Area Legal Services is a non-profit, public interest legal firm that serves seniors and others to eliminate barriers to justice to preserve independence, hope, and dignity.
Tampa has a host of food pantries and food programs for seniors in need. Here are a few of them:
Trinity Cafe- Since 2001, Trinity Café has been serving over 250 hot and healthy meals, including on the holidays. The homeless, hungry, and poor are served restaurant quality meals that are prepared by a professional chef and they eat at a nicely set table.
Feeding Tampa Bay- Feeding Tampa Bay is the driving force behind food relief in the Tampa Bay area. Feeding Tampa Bay partners with over 600 charities to distribute food and emergency food supplies. Mobile pantries take food out to those who cannot come to the food pantries. The program also employs outreach workers to promote the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
Kaye Prox Food Bank- The Kaye Prox Food Bank is a religious-based food bank that provides emergency food to seniors and families in need. The program is run by all volunteers.
The Sunshine Line is an award-winning transportation system serving Tampa seniors. The service provides door-to-door transportation and bus passes for seniors who need transportation. The service is primarily used for medical appointments, trips to adult day care centers, and nutritional programs, but seniors can use the service for other purposes when space is available. Vehicles are wheelchair accessible. Fees are affordable, and trips can be scheduled up to a week in advance. Call at least two days prior to the trip to ensure a ride.
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