TAMPA, Fla. – It was a very Merry Christmas for one local family. Today, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, in partnership with Metropolitan Ministries, Elder Ford of Tampa, and Wheels of Success, surprised a bay area woman and her daughters with a brand new car. With the donation, the Host Committee and Metropolitan Ministries launch the Forever 55 Stable Families Project, which will support 20 Tampa Bay families transitioning from homelessness to self-sufficiency. The Forever 55 Stable Families Project is part of the Super Bowl Legacy Grant Program funded by the NFL Foundation and the Host Committee alongside community and civic partners’ collaboration to create, support and implement long-lasting initiatives throughout Tampa Bay.
The car recipient, Traciann, is a single mother of four who jumped from motel to motel before finding refuge and changing her life at Metropolitan Ministries. With the support of Metropolitan Ministries’ programs and resources, Traciann has secured permanent employment and has been able to lay a foundation of self-sufficiency.
According to the 2019 United Way ALICE Report, 43% of Tampa Bay households struggle to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and healthcare. The project will provide 20 families from Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties with flexible funding to further their education, create employment opportunities, establish safe and stable homes, and have access to digital resources to participate in educational programs or employment. In addition, each will be paired with case managers to design individualized goals and actions that address needs such as housing, budgeting, education, health, children's needs, and employment. The identified families are graduates from Metropolitan Ministries or participants from Restored Hope, Meals on Wheels for Kids, Police Athletic League programs, and other non-profits throughout Tampa Bay.
“Metropolitan Ministries is an incredible organization helping alleviate suffering and instill hope to those who need it most,” said Claire Lessinger, Chief Operating Officer of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee. “As a result of our Forever55partnership and Stable Families Project we are dedicating dollars and resources directly to families in need and helping them transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Our collective goal is to positively impact and provide a sustainable boost to as many underserved communities and families as possible. Traciann’s inspiring story is one of many to come.”
"We often hear about the economic impact a city experiences when hosting a Super Bowl," said Tim Marks, President and CEOof Metropolitan Ministries. "We are incredibly grateful to the NFL and the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee for having the foresight to create a long-lasting impact through Forever 55. Their commitment to this compassionate and caring initiative will have a transformative impact on these 20 families.”
Families like Traciann’s often find themselves struggling to restart their lives with minimal resources. The funding and case management services provided through Forever 55’s Families initiative will allow homeless families to utilize direct financial assistance to further their goals and an opportunity to rebuild their livelihood. Over time, families can sustain permanent housing, preventing a return to homelessness and their children to grow and flourish.