Community Support Hub: Help has arrived

The first Community Support Hub celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 1 at 1427 22nd St. S.


ST. PETERSBURG — The City of St. Petersburg and community partners celebrated the opening of St. Pete’s first Community Support Hubs on Friday, March 1, at 1427 22nd St. S.

A collaboration between the City of St. Petersburg, Pinellas Community Foundation, The Well, Gulf Coast JFCS and People Empowering & Restoring Communities (PERC), the Community Support Hubs (Hubs) will be established in areas of need across St. Pete. The Hubs will provide direct counseling, care management, assertive outreach and additional services that are responsive to each community’s needs.

The Hubs will be developed one by one, allowing the team to learn from the process and the community along the way. This first Hub will be the first of multiple locations coming to St. Pete before the end of 2026.

At Friday’s ceremony, Mayor Ken Welch said as the concept was being developed, feedback from the community was vital and helped shape the model for the city.

Community Support Hubs will provide trauma-informed counseling and wellness service, case management, neighborhood outreach and additional services based on the neighborhood needs.

“As we talked to the community, talked to our families and neighbors, it was clear that the need was for accessible and comprehensive mental health and other supportive services and the importance of addressing the root causes of so many of the issues that impact our families and our neighborhoods every day.”

The Hubs are designed to meet the needs of St. Pete’s diverse community and to meet people where they are. Residents will be able to connect with opportunities and support through the trauma-informed services that will be provided at each hub location. Through direct counseling, care management and assertive outreach, The Hubs will empower individuals to reclaim their sense of agency and embark on a path towards healing and recovery.

“And we’re not done yet. As we move forward, we will continue to innovate, to collaborate, and to make informed decisions based on data, on science, on the reality that folks are facing in their streets, in their homes, in their neighborhoods every day,” said the mayor.

Duggan Cooley, CEO, Pinellas Community Foundation, said countless community members have reached out for help and hit a brick wall. However, The Hubs will “serve as a beacon of hope for people who have been unserved, underserved or inadequately served for far too long.”

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed in 2021 to speed up the country’s recover from the economic and health effects exacerbated by the pandemic and recession. Cooley said it was fitting that the city invested ARPA funds into solutions that address challenges made more acute in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“The Hubs are not at mere points where you get service for fixing problems, but it’s meant to be a refuge where people are first seen, heard, and valued,” Cooley stated.

What are Hubs?

The Hubs are more than a physical space. They represent a commitment to care and support. They are meant to be focal points where the community’s strengths and collective strategies converge to create an environment of safety, well-being, and joy.

Founder and Executive Director of The Well, Inc., Dr. LaDonna Butler, and her team held listening sessions to determine exactly what the neighborhood needed. She said for far too long, help has come from outside the community, but with the openings of The Hubs, strategies and service providers are brought together so every resident can access the support and resources needed.

‘If you are a service provider and you have something that our community needs, join us in this work,’ said Dr. LaDonna Butler, pictured above.

“From parks to houses of faith and hair salons and shaded trees, we have always known how to gather and share information and tell each other what to do and where to go in order to get help,” said Butler. “The Hub strategy is to use that same mindset through an assertive outreach strategy where we have our street team — our residents who are onboarded as a part of our team to make sure that people who are hurting are directly connected to the services that are available.”

The Hubs have care managers, not case managers, because “we are not cases, and we deserve care.” The care managers connect the community to the necessary resources, including human resources, to meet their needs.

Butler said the most critical service is comprehensive mental health services. She said typically, when a project is funded, you can only engage with the hired staff, but because of the flexibility of funding, they “are able to engage people who have the right skills, the right strategy and have neighborhood alignment.”

Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, Inc. has been changing lives for 50 years, uplifting lives through more than 57 programs activated by more than 670 employees across 40 Florida counties. The Hubs is personal for their president and chief executive officer, Dr. Sandra Braham.

She feels a center like The Hubs is the sort of place her mother may have stumbled upon. Her mother had schizophrenia and would not go to the hospital. She wandered the streets for six years until she finally admitted herself into care.

“I look at this place, and I know that this is a lifeline for so many community residents that are going to just stumble in here, wondering what it is and seeking help,” Braham said.

Pull up to the Hubs anytime at 1427 22nd St. S between 10-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, visit them online at or call 727-285-4553.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top