During the month of October, our team at Tampa General Hospital participated in the TGH Sleeping Bag Project. WCBL practitioners Katherine Breese, Jeannine Redd, and Lauren Whitson volunteered their time and talents to help make sleeping bags for the homeless.
Typically, sterile surgical wrap used to protect operating room instruments is discarded after it has served its purpose. However, after a TGH nurse heard about a new way to use the material, its lifespan is now being increased dramatically. The wrap is being recycled and sewn together for a very special purpose, sleeping bags for the homeless. Surgical wrap material conserves heat and is waterproof, so it makes the perfect sleeping bag for those in need.
So far, employees at TGH have helped make over 100 sterile wrap sleeping bags for the local homeless population. But they’re just getting started.
For more information on how you can help, contact Tampa General’s volunteer office at https://www.tgh.org/volunteer.
Statistics on Homelessness in Hillsborough County:
How many people are homeless?
According to the 2019 Homeless Count in Hillsborough County, on any given night there are at least 1,650 homeless men, women, and children in Tampa-Hillsborough County. These are people who are sleeping on the streets, behind buildings, in encampments, in cars, emergency shelters and transitional housing.
Who is homeless?
According to the 2019 Homeless Point-in-Time Count, we know the following about who is homeless:
38% are female
19% are under the age of 18
10% have served in the U.S. Military
20% are Hispanic
18% report experiencing mental illness
16% are chronically homeless
What causes homelessness?
Plain and simple, homelessness happens when a person is unable to afford to pay for a place to live or their current home is unsafe or unstable. People are homeless for a wide variety of reasons, a good number of which are at least partly and often largely beyond a person’s control. People lose jobs and then housing. Women run away to the street to escape domestic violence. Many people have experienced significant trauma and simply cannot cope with life. Others struggle with mental illness, depression or post-traumatic stress. Once homeless, the lack of housing, access to healthcare, and supportive services, become barriers that keep individuals from moving back into housing.
*Information obtained from Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative. For information on ways you can help, click here.