With new partners and funding, PCUL to expand health services countywide

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming months, the Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL) will be expanding its health program to cover all of Pinellas County with help from new partners and more funding from a substantial charitable. 

The good news was announced last Thursday during the premier social service agency’s annual meeting of its board of directors at the Center for Health Equity, 2333 34th St. S, with staff, supporters and interested residents attending.

Rev. Watson L. Haynes II, PCUL president and CEO, touted the new development in his CEO message opening the pages of PCUL’s Annual Impact Report released at the meeting.

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PCUL’s new focus in the coming months will be on economic development, education, affordable housing, and health initiatives, said Haynes, adding that PCUL “will be expanding its Health Program to cover all of Pinellas County through partnerships with several individuals and organizations such as the University of Florida, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.”

The agency will be utilizing the Mobile Health Unit that was provided to the Urban League by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, said Haynes, the recipient of a Community Hero Award in December from The Lightning Foundation in Tampa that came with a $50,000 donation Haynes said will help sustain support for PCUL’s Health Programs.

The board also heard the League’s Community Impact 2020 report on Housing and Community Economic Development from Charlotte L. Anderson, vice president of Housing and Economic Development, who opened up by reporting out some numbers she described as “staggering.”

Anderson, speaking to a politically, economically, racially diverse group, offered that PCUL research found that, statistically, there are 407,268 households in Pinellas County, with forty-two percent (or 162,908) of those households living in on the verge of poverty, according to the Asset Limited, Income Retrained, Employed (ALICE) report provided by the United Way. 

Comparatively, she noted, there are 167,459 households in the City of St. Petersburg; 47 percent (or 78,706) of those residents are living in or on the verge of poverty.

“These numbers are staggering,” she declared, with emphasis in her voice, rhetorically asking “Why,” and then asserting, with growing popular evidence, that “poverty affects all of us, and  we must take a stand for addressing the cultural, systematic and situational issues of poverty in our state, our county, and our communities before it’s too late.”

Anderson shared a statement that came out of the Borgen Project Report on the societal effects of poverty: “Wealthy or developed countries maintain stability because of the presence of a middle class. However, even Western countries are gradually losing their middle class. As a result, there has been an increased number of riots and clashes. For society, poverty is a very dangerous factor that can destabilize an entire country.”

She went on to note that PCUL addresses poverty in our communities by providing impactful community economic development initiatives in the areas of financial wellness, workforce development, small business development, housing, and in some cases, financial support.

Anderson also shared PCUL’s Housing & Community Economic Development impact goals for 2020 designed to assist individuals and families who desire a better quality of life. These goals are based on our current capacity, which includes staffing, collaborative partners and resources.

The board conducted other business, including nominating and electing officers to serve from January through December 2020, put up by Nominating Committee Chair Dr. Kevin Gordon.

Elected unanimously:

  • Ms. Linda Marcelli, President, Lucky’s Real Tomatoes – Chairperson (second term)
  • Mr. Rodney Wilson, Vice President, Small Business Banking, Bank of America – First Vice Chairperson
  • Dr. William Law, Retired Educator – Second Vice Chairperson
  • Atty. Cindy Innocent, Trenam Law – Secretary
  • Major Matthew McKinney, St. Petersburg Police Department – Treasurer
  • Mr. Jeffrey K. Hearn, Managing Director, Raymond James – Assistant Treasurer

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