TAMPA (WFLA) – All month long, 8 On Your Side is celebrating the remarkable women in our community! These women were nominated by others in Tampa Bay and the finalists were chosen by local judges.
The first Remarkable Woman is Barb Green.
“I don’t really see myself as anything outstanding,” says Green.
Which is why, when Green was nominated as a Remarkable Woman, she had a hard time taking credit. In fact, she wouldn’t!
“I’m far from an angel,’ she says.
In 1986, Barb and her late husband started what is known today as HEP– Homeless Empowerment Program.
“A gentlemen fell off a scaffold on a job and hurt his back really bad. He was unable to work for three years,” says Green.
They put him and his family in a home they owned, and kept them afloat. Over 30 years, helping one family has turned into helping thousands down on their luck.
“We always house over 1,400 a year and add that up by 32 years,” says Green.
One of the thousands who’ve come through HEP is Brian Monaghan. He was homeless for 10 years and says Green saved his life.
Monaghan says being homeless is like being invisible. For a decade, he felt that way, until he met Barb Green.
“She treats me like a real person,” says Monaghan.
“There are so many issues you have to face. If you lose your identification, you can’t get a job. Used to, you couldn’t even send your children to school because they didn’t recognize the shelter as an address,” says Green.
HEP takes in people like Monaghan, who now lives on his own, and provides them with shelter, food and the tools they need to get a job and land back on their feet.
Green, along with her team, volunteers and sponsors, are working one family at a time to erase homelessness in Pinellas County.
“Just because you’re homeless, it’s not a sin, it’s not a crime. You shouldn’t be treated like a criminal,” says Green.
If you’d like to get involved with HEP and help fight to end homelessness, visit the HEP website.