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South St. Pete Fights for A Healthier Future

St. Petersburg is easily one of the state’s most beautiful cities. Unfortunately, not every St. Pete resident gets to enjoy the wonders of the city in the same way.

Besides the large gap between Pinellas County’s rich and poor, there are also major disparities across race and ethnicity. For example, Blacks or African Americans experience poverty and unemployment at greater rates than whites in Pinellas County. In 2017, 20.6% of African Americans in Pinellas could not see a doctor in the previous 12 months when they needed to because of costs.

Social and economic factors such as education, employment, income, and family and social supports, are playing out as barriers to good health. This is especially true in south Pinellas, predominantly a community of color, which is bearing the bulk of the disparities and their impact.

The Healthy Florida – St. Pete project is committed to finding out just how bad some of these barriers have become for the people of south Pinellas. More importantly, the partner organizations are determined to work with south St. Pete residents to identify and fight for local solutions. In the meantime, the project is offering a free community health care resource guide to help locals find free or reduced cost care.

The project is being guided by a steering committee of partner organizations, including: Florida Voices for Health, the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative, Florida Council of Churches and the Community Health Coalition of St. Petersburg the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Daystar Life Center, Empath Health, Pinellas County Navigators, the Tampa Family Healthcare Foundation, and SEIU.

​Still, change won’t happen without the people of south St. Pete. This project is an opportunity for residents of Palmetto Park, Child’s Park, Jordan Park, Methodist Town, Melrose Mercy, Pine Acres, Cromwell Heights, Thirteenth Street Heights, Twinbrooks, Clam Bayou, Harbordale, Bartlett Park, and the Greater Pinellas Point neighborhoods to share their experiences accessing care and their thoughts on what can be done.

In October, the entire community, including elected officials, will be invited to the project’s South St. Pete Solutions Summit. We will unveil the findings of our community survey, present options available to address key issues, and officially launch a grassroots campaign to implement change.

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