Residents with special needs, the elderly, and those without transportation require extra attention in order to stay safe during a tropical storm or hurricane. Hillsborough County has programs in place to help these residents prepare and find safe shelter. To make sure there are enough facilities to accommodate residents who need evacuation assistance to a special needs shelter, it is very important to register each year, preferably prior to the June 1st onset of hurricane season. If you need these services and have not yet registered, it is not too late!
A special needs shelter is a temporary emergency facility capable of providing care to residents whose medical condition may require the use of electrical equipment, oxygen, dialysis, or individuals with physical, cognitive, or medical conditions who may require assistance from medical professionals. Although special needs shelters provide more care than a general shelter, they do not provide the level of care found in a medical facility.
If you apply for a special needs shelter, you will be asked about your transportation plans. If you need a ride to a shelter, arrangements will be made with Sunshine Line to pick you up and take you to your assigned shelter.
In order to be admitted to a special needs shelter you will need to complete an evaluation form prior to an emergency and meet certain eligibility requirements. Once you have completed the evaluation form, you will be contacted for more information and your medical needs and eligibility will be assessed.
You can get assistance or register for a special needs shelter and/or transportation assistance using the following options:
- Call the Hillsborough County Health Department at 813/307-8063
- Call the Hillsborough County InfoLine at 813/272-5900, TTY 813/301-7173
- Call your home health care provider
- Complete an evaluation form (below) and fax to 813/276-8689 or mail to:
Hillsborough County Health Department
P.O. Box 5135
Tampa, FL 33675-5135
- English form
Here are some other great sources for useful information:
Also, during a hurricane evacuation, HART buses run special evacuation routes for people without alternative transportation to get to shelters on higher ground. Learn more about HART Emergency Evacuation Services. These routes are provided to assist those who have no other options for getting to safety and are a critical lifeline.