"I could open the gates and have over 500 people," said Sheila Lopez, the chief operating officer for Catholic Charities at the St. Petersburg diocese.
said the average stay is about 77 days but many stay longer.
Scott, who also declined to give his
last name, said he
job building boats because of the recession and had been at Pinellas Hope for two months.
"You can't complain.
The people are really wonderful," he
Scott said he
had applied for a job retraining program that was part of Obama's economic stimulus plan, but after being told he
got a message saying no new applicants were being accepted.
said it costs $2.6 million a year to run the camp with about half coming from donations of food and other items.
Pinellas Hope replaced a tent city in downtown St. Petersburg that was closed two years ago.
Police forced residents to leave and slashed some tents.
said 80 one-person wooden huts were being added to the tents.
said the diocese hoped to build apartments on the land, which is far from any residential neighborhoods.