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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Homeless Empowerment Program

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services

Mission: HEP is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Since 1986, our Mission has been to provide homeless and very low-income individuals and families with housing, food, clothing and support services necessary to obtain self-sufficiency and improved quality of life.

Results: In 2019, HEP served 1,059 people, including 132 children and 478 veterans. In our state-of-the-art kitchen and dining hall, we served 107,830 nutritious meals. The HEP Dental and Wellness Clinic provided an astonishing 6,628 dental procedures valued at $1,000,000. Through a strategic community partnership with the Morton Plant Hospital through the Morton Plant Outreach Team (MPOT), we saved the community $5,759,846 with onsite wellness services and avoided emergency room visits and ambulance calls.

Target demographics: homeless and very low-income individuals, families and Veterans.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2019, we served 1,059 people, including 132 children and 478 Veterans.

Geographic areas served: Clearwater, Florida

Programs: Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, individualized case management, dental, medical and mental health care; job training, financial and legal services, literacy courses, drug and alcohol services, and more!

Community Stories

105 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

My family and I have been strong supporters of HEP since it's inception. It was my daughter's 5th grade Christian elementary school mission. She ultimately helped HEP out professionally as an attorney. I have been a member of Women Who Care since it started. It's a great part of HEP, as it helps the children who are clients of HEP with educational programs. My husband and I are also members of The Green Society giving annually to further the excellent programs that HEP offers to help those in need get the extra help they need to get their lives in order to live fully functioning lives.

Barbara B.8

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a top-notch homeless program - not in the city, not in the state, but in the country! A model for other aspiring programs to serve struggling people and help them reintegrate themselves. I cannot say enough about the work that they do.

Michele J. C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with HEP. I have been a volunteer in the kitchen for about a year and a half. I love the quality and care that is taken by all to better serve the residents.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is an amazing organization, helping people to become independent and successful. I have never found another organization filled with such warm, loving and helpful people as you find at HEP. If you are looking for a good organization to volunteer your time to or to donate assets to, this should be at the top of the list.

Sarah Burkhart T.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband Tim & I contribute monthly to this worthwhile charity because it gives back, it truly gives back. From helping the families plant gardens for food, to refurbishing bikes so their families can get to work and earn enough for a car someday, to teaching them educational things so more opportunities for employment can come their way, it's all given in the spirit of giving back. Way to go HEP, once again. You deserve to be on this list!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Despite their modest size HEP should be a national model for helping the homeless. HEP's outstanding approach and execution has evolved from best practices around the world. But, the proof is in all of the lives that they have helped and continue to help in our community. HEP is not just about lending a helping hand, but a holistic approach to get struggling people back into housing and the opportunity to live a fulfilled life. Simply put, HEP the gold standard for homelessness organizations.

Kathleen S.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the HEP Therapy Dog program as a volunteer working with both the Veteran's Program and the Summer Bridge Program. Both are excellent programs that provide the residents of HEP with what they need. I am so impressed that they have computer training and job placement services right on campus. The addition of the hydroponic garden and green house is a huge plus and teaches residents how to grow food to provide for themselves and to help feed HEP residents. The Thrift Store is well maintained and donations are always welcome and again provide direct assistance to those in need. I have worked at another homeless shelters and feel HEP does a much better job in comparison. I rate HEP with 5 stars...Far exceeds expectations! This is Therapy Dog Rudy.

Noyesfamilyfoundation

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I loved helping out serving dinner and lunch to the guests at HEP. It was good to see their appreciation. It was also a good way to teach my 14-year old son the importance of giving back to the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Why should you and I contribute to HEP
HEP is very unique by going beyond the daily needs of temporary shelter and food:
Provides emergency and transitional housing.
Licensed Medical and Mental Health services on site.
Special support and housing for Veterans
Partnerships with Community Resources
Success rate of ~90% exit to permanent housing
A 4 STAR rating by Charity Navigator for financial accountability & management and program excellence

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with HEP, primarily prepping and serving food in the kitchen where residents receive their meals. Not only do the residents receive high quality and creative meals, but I, as a volunteer, always feel that my time and service is appreciated. HEP's goal is to break the cycle of homelessness and so many resources are available to help people get back on their feet and return to a functioning life with a job and a home. Those who, for some reason, are unable to, have a forever home with HEP. I cannot say enough good things about this organization!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is a fantastic organization with a philosophy of not only helping people get back on their feet, but providing all the services needed to help them do so. I volunteer mostly in the kitchen, and sometimes with special events. The quality of meals offered is excellent. All staff are a joy to work with and, even though we all wish there was no need in our society for these services, HEP always seems to be my happy place! Thank you for what you do.......

readbnch

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at HEP for more than 6 years. During the pandemic, I was not able to work because all volunteer jobs were taken over by staff in order to protect the volunteers. I have missed helping very much and am anxiously awaiting the return of normalacy when I can once again offer my services. HEP is an outstanding organization and the staff and volunteer workers are all kind, caring, people who work tirelessly to serve those less fortunate. They make an extraordinary difference in the community by providing care and a way out of homelessness. Sincerely, Lynne Read

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have voulunteered working in the kitchen serving lunch for about 5 years. I enjoy helping and contributing in a small way to help those less fortunate. HEP serves wonderful nutritious meals to its clientele and treats everyone with respect.

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Kelly M.11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked as a volunteer for HEP for a few years. This charity is competently and compassionately managed. It is a joy to work with the staff.

Gloria Potterton M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great nonprofit organization. It helps people to get back on their feet again. They are fed and given housing but it requires them to give back. They volunteer in the community too. I wouldn’t volunteer anywhere else as I see how important it is and how valued the volunteers are. My job was in nonprofit so I know that HEP should receive this award.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love everything about HEP - the mission, the community, the volunteers, and what they're doing! You would never know that this 8-acre community is in your own back yard! I love to support local, and getting involved in organizations that are making a big difference. I, of course, vet each organization before giving monetarily. Homelessness is a real issue in our society and HEP does give the money & services to support their clients who really need the "hand up". So happy HEP exceeds all expectations and is the best place to invest :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is a great organization, and is truly helping the homeless community. My work has been supporting HEP for the past few years through volunteerism, monetary sponsorship , and even serving as advisors on Resource Committees. What I love about HEP is that they are not just a homeless shelter, they give resources and services for the client to "help themselves", in every area needed to gain self-sufficiency. I would highly recommend HEP to anyone wanting to get involved in their local community and make a big impact for those in need.

Victoria C.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hi. My name is Victoria and myself and my 2 kids need help really badly. We had a house fire 4 months ago today. I’m a struggling single mom and had no homeowners ins at the time. My kids are 15 and 18. My 18 year old is autistic with ptsd and learning disabilities and had been on disability for many years. My 15 year old (Paris German)is a patient of yours. I can’t remember our caseworker and we lost a lot of important paperwork in the fire She had reconstructive spine surgery for chronic scoliosis with the help of Shriners a year ago. I also suffer from PTSD which I was handling until I became homeless.
I “had” a group of Scientologist helping. But they literally “abandoned” us as we have no desire to become Scientologist. They also would make my 18 year old cry by telling her she isn’t autistic. They insisted they could get it out of her. It was a really hard situation to handle whilst trying to remain great full for any help.
At this point I have done a ton of demo work removing charred Sheetrock and scrubbing the walls in my home. I’m working on obtaining a remodel permit but again only myself to do everything. I’ve never done electrical before but I have done construction previously a decade ago in NY.
we are so unbelievably desperate for help.
my home was remodeled prior to us and the damage is only new construction in 10% of the house. The original Plaster and laugh construction is untouched. The structure has not been compromised in any way. The fire was not able to spread in the walls or rafters. We so desperately want to go home.
Im an American citizen born in Fl. I have no criminal record. I don’t even have a moving violation on my driving record. We are good people. We always try to help others in need but now it’s us 3 girls.
if I have to do this totally alone I don’t know when we will be able to go home.
Im begging you from the bottom of my heart to pease please please help us. Our whole family is torn apart. My kids have to sleep at friends houses and I sleep in my car with my dogs. I can’t lose my dogs too, we almost lost them in the fire if it wasn’t for my neighbor bravely running in to save them they would have been gone. They are much loved family members and emotional support for all 3 of us.
Idont know what else to say. We are a good family in major distress over this. If you can find it in your heart to help us we will be forever grateful.
sincerely,

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with the HEP kitchen and thrift store beginning in Sept 2017. This organization puts clients first. You can tell the message is "service first" with no worries that executive leadership is profiteering. All actions and focus are put towards helping those in need. There is a feeling of a "Community helping the community" when you speak with employees and other volunteers. I will be continuing my service with HEP indefinitely while recommending others join in the fight!

Francine F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Employees from St. Petersburg College have donated household goods and clothing to this wonderful organization. Our Career Service Employee Staff organize drives twice a year.

Once you schedule a pick-up for donations, their staff arrives on time and courteous. This is a wonderful organization and a great cause. Thank you HEP for all that you to empower the homeless. F. Fuentes

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wanted to give a shout out to all the staff and board at HEP. As I work with various service organizations and partner as a church administrator at Skycrest Community Church theirlevel of care and execution in meeting needs is superior across the board. We love partnering with them and appreciate their presence in the community for caring for those less fortunate and the men and women who have served our country that need assistance into the market place and life at large. May God continue to bless and grow your areas of ministry and service to the community. You are making a difference!

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting and volunteering at HEP since 2008. This is a fabulous organization helping so many people back to their feet.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We do pet therapy at HEP and enjoy meeting people & spending time with them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What an incredible addition to our community: a non-profit campus that's truly changing lives. Every time I volunteer, I'm inspired by the residents and the staff. Our church group is now volunteering in the kitchen, and it's such a happy experience to be there and see the residents grow, change and evolve. Kudos to a powerful, effective and compassionate non-profit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We've been contributors as well as volunteers for HEP. The program helps many people and they are always looking for better ways to serve the public.

warreb

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is a great place to volunteer! The people are always helpful, friendly, and appreciative of your time. It feels good to know the effort you give is helping other people in a meaningful way. My daughter even did her service learning project for HEP and was able to help raise money, donate supplies, and bring awareness to the great work HEP does!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with HEP in the kitchen and at various findraising events. My daughter has done several fundraising service projects for HEP, also. We believe in the mission and work they do every day to help our community.

Peso M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

you can never get in to the place everytime you call they give you the run around tell you they never have beds open when they do and they only help wemon out before the guys needs better management

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered at several non-profits and HEP is the most impressive by far. Their care and commitment to their cause is unsurpassed and they are so respectful and thankful for the help their volunteers provide.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer, I have gained valuable knowledge of how important HEP is to end the cycle of homelessness in our community. Their dedication to our veterans is second to none, I'm so proud to be associated with this outstanding nonprofit.

Dianna M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a HEP volunteer since July 2018. I work on Saturdays from 9 am - 1 pm at the Veteran's Clubhouse. I have met many veterans who have benefited from the HEP program. These men and women range in age from seniors to what I think of as youngsters (25-30). All have recently been homeless; some have had drug and/or alcohol problems; some suffer from PTSD and/or medical issues. If a veteran is ready to address the problems that put him or her on the streets HEP is there to help. Not just with shelter, clothes and decent food but also with guidance in setting goals, shuttle service to the VA hospital so they can keep their appointments and giving them a place to interact with other veterans in a social environment.
I have had the privilege of spending time with new arrivals and those who have been in the program awhile. Those who are new are often confused and by talking to them I can encourage them to keep their appointments with doctors, their HEP counselors and to participate in the social activities set up by the clubhouse coordinators. For those veterans who have been at HEP longer it is nice to talk to them about their progress. You can't imagine how great it is to see a veteran's confidence increase when he/she gets a job or is ready to move into an apartment.
HEP is very supportive of veterans and non-veterans and provides a very vital service in Pinellas County.

Betty J K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer and have found the staff and other volunteers to be caring, committed and cheerful. I enjoy my time spent with HEP.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is an incredible organization and asset to our community. The staff is amazing and were so gracious in working with our family to schedule a time for my son and I along with a friend to serve dinner one Saturday. It was an opportunity for our son to learn about serving others and supporting our community. Thank you HEP for all you do!

Margaret58

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Over the last 26 years I have watched HEP grow from a part of Everybody’s Tabernacle to a stand alone 501 (c) (3). When I began volunteering In 1992 there were 5 paid employees and today they have become a nationally and internationally known organization aiding families and individuals , many whom are veterans. Their comprehensive program partnering with, among many others, Baycare Health, has saved the lives of many and enabled many families to become contributing members of the community. Their veterans program is exemplified. Just check out their transparency at Charity Navigator earning them consistently 5 Stars. I have volunteered, worked and supported HEP since then, and still volunteer at events. There is no better place to give your time and your money. I would give it 10 stars if I could!

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at HEP in 1993 and it has been my charity of choice ever since. The dedication and overwhelming number of services available to the homeless population has changed so many lives. Staff and volunteers alike have the best interest of the clients foremost in mind and it shows in day to day communication. The Pinellas County area is so fortunate in having such a nationally recognized and highly rated agency as their own!!! HEP will continue to excell and I am fully behind them.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer in the kitchen of HEP once a week. The staff are great to work with. The clients are very appreciative of the help of the volunteers. I find the HEP organization to be a caring well run organization that is helping to meet the needs of the homeless. I enjoy my time at HEP and find it very rewarding .

Client Served

Rating: 1

I came to h.e.p. seeking assistance in shelter, to transitional housing, to independent affordable living. However, from my move at Safe Harbor to H.E.P. I was given 30 days to accomplish my objectives. They (H.E.P.) could not transition me therefore H.E.P. had to move me back to Safe Habor where I have to live outside in pod 6 compared to pod 2 where I lived before H.E.P. allotted me the 30 day assistance. I have sought assistance in another State where I won't be caught up in the cycle of funding that prove limited.

Marvin Lucas

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Years ago when I was between jobs I volunteered at HEP in the after school program. I was so impressed with the kindness/humbleness of the staff, the beautiful well kept facilities and how the residents expressed their heart felt appreciation. I have volunteered at other homeless shelters and none of them come close to HEP.
Thank you for being there for so many in their time of greatest need!!


Volunteer

Rating: 4

Friendly, welcoming staff who are there when I need them :-)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very happy to have the opportunity to volunteer at HEP. Mostly the benefit is knowing that the entire organization is assisting people to get their lives back together.

1 DpGin AndFam P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great place to volunteer!! HEP is a wonderful non-profit... always reaching out to help people!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have worked at HEP at the dental clinic, in the kitchen, and on special events for many years. We are amazed at how HEP has grown from the vision of one faithful couple to the complex and committed organization it is today!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi! Homeless Empowerment Program is a game changer. The concept of meeting the individual where they are ( giving shelter, food, clothing, a Listening ear, understanding, and caring arms) but then to help the individual elevate their situation through several channels (counseling, training, etc) is priceless. I love being a partner of this awesome organization. People makes all the difference in the world!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband, myself and our 2 sons ages 15 and 7 volunteer in the kitchen serving dinner on a regular basis as well as special events where volunteers are needed and we enjoy every minute! The staff treats the residents with such care and respect it is amazing to see.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered in various ways in the past few years - starting with bringing my therapy dogs to the campus to visit with some of the residents. The volunteer coordinator(s) at the campus and all the staff are very friendly & easy to work with. We love the work that HEP does - keep it up!!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love everything HEP does. They don't enable, they empower the less fortunate to lead productive lives and be self sustaining citizens again. I love to volunteer in the dental clinic and clean teeth and help them with oral hygiene matters.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered as a tutor for those wanting their GED, and served at various functions. HEP does ant outstanding job of promoting the homeless community and helping them to achieve their personal goals.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

HEP is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and most highly regarded housing and support services program for homeless populations in their entire continuum if not the state!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

With such a history of hope restoration to those in need, its hard to find someone who hasn't heard of HEP. Just as the six degrees of separation theory (that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction) Sooner or later you will experience the "Six degrees of Hep" and the wonderful stories of lives changed for the better!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Has staff to assist clients with many needs and really get them prepared for independence in the community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a nurse and have worked at HEP for 10 years. They are helping more each year by having more programs to meet the needs of the homeless from job coaches to mental health therapists. HEP focuses on helping the homeless population to help themselves and obtain housing when their time is completed at the shelter.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first encounter with HEP was an invitation from a friend to attend a luncheon and guided tour. I was hooked from that day on! I started as a volunteer and now work as an Activity Coordinator in the Veteran's clubhouse. HEP is a place that provides not only shelter, but dignity, respect and a family environment to all who find themselves in need.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

HEP is a Non-Profit that you can be proud of I know I am it does what it says " Helping people help themselves"
You hear about HEP and how they help the homeless, but until you get involved in some way, volunteering, working or supporting their efforts you cannot image the scope of what this organization does for individuals, veterans and families . Amazing!!!

1 Megan110

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is such a wonderful organization, that truly helps so many people. I have firsthand seen what a difference they make on a daily basis. For the longest time, I had no idea that places like this existed, and am so grateful to have found this organization.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

HEP makes a difference in so many lives. Great organization, great staff!

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with HEP since it began in 1986. I have watched her grow from a small shelter created to help those in need to one of the biggest and best shelters in the USA. We are so proud of the new building we have worked so hard for. I would invite everyone to come and take a look and see what we have accomplished and meet the people we help each and every day.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

HEP is nothing short of amazing. They go to great lengths to he all walks of
Life. I am extremely proud to say I know all about HEP!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

HEP is a Non-Profit that you can be proud of I know I am it does what it says " Helping people help themselves"

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have been Ministering to the Homeless Community in the Clearwater area for over Ten Years. I have seen a first hand experience, of how HEP is changing Lives. The people in need come in hardened and leave hopeful and moving in a productive motion. HEP is doing an amazing job.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked in other organizations for the homeless, and NOT ONE compares to what HEP does for its clients. They are always there with a helping hand, and with all the resources that HEP has they have made a difference in thousands of people lives over the years. If you want to volunteer or donate the HEP is the place you want to check out.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

You hear about HEP and how they help the homeless, but until you get involved in some way, volunteering, working or supporting their efforts you cannot image the scope of what this organization does for individuals, veterans and families . Amazing!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 3

Nice place to work! Love to see others progressing further and maintaining independence.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The innovation behind their services keeps HEP a cut above the rest in the progression of homeless prevention and assistance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Watching the transformation of those who have lost their footing to having found steady ground is amazing. The hand-up not handout philosophy of HEP is empowering.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been with HEP for 29 years, first as a volunteer, then on the Board of Directors and as a full-time employee. I am very proud of all that we've accomplished. HEP has a great team of staff members and partners all striving to make HEP the last homeless shelter their clients will ever need.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been with HEP for 5 years. I am so proud to be a member of such a wonderful organization! Amazing staff, Leaders and Board. Love working with people who truly care about the people they are serving and clearly understand and believe in the mission and vision of the organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The positive outcomes that are generated through this great organization are amazing and life changing for those that benefit and for those that support those in need. It is wonderful to see such generosity in so many!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Working for the community currently. Always positive energy surrounded by the company and making sure everything that can be done IS done for each resident.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have volunteered in the kitchen and with special fund-raising events at HEP for over a year. It is an incredible organization. They are respectful of and open to helping all people. Any staff we have encountered have been incredibly kind and compassionate and just fun people! We always look forward to any of our time spent helping out there. The food is pretty amazing, too!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HEP is one of the best! I get to see first hand just how much they do for their community and how much the volunteers mean and do for them. Always feeling so loved and blessed.

Teddy O'Connell B.

Donor

Rating: 5

Always coming up with new ways to serve this population. Housing for veterans coupled with PTSD counseling and job training--just one of the newest ways to help those most in need to get back into the mainstream of life.