Pinellas County’s historical population growth reflects the mobile lifestyle of Americans and a building boom that enticed many visitors to call this peninsula home. In 1960, the population in Pinellas County had doubled to more than 374,000 residents from the 1950s. The influx of residents brought prosperity to the county’s shores, but it also brought an increase in the number of people who found themselves in dire need of social services.
Pinellas County Government responded by creating the Department of Social Services in 1955. The Department was originally created to administer the Financial Assistance Program, the Commodity Food Program (precursor to Food Stamps) and operate the County Nursing Home. Four years later, the County added indigent medical services to its roster of programs through a partnership with Mound Park Hospital, now Bayfront Hospital. The Commodity Food Program was discontinued in 1972, after the food stamp program became available and the County Nursing Home was closed in 1973.
More than 50 years later, the department now known as Health and Community Services continues to serve county residents in need of financial assistance and medical services. However, with a population nearing one million, the county continues to adapt these services to meet the multifaceted needs of a diverse client population. For example, the indigent medical services once provided at Mound Park Hospital have evolved into the Pinellas County Health Program, offering health care in Medical Homes throughout the County. A Mobile Medical Unit brings health care to the homeless population and those who need it most.
The department continues to respond to the evolving needs of our community with a variety of new and innovative solutions. Through programs like Social Service Agency Funding, the department partners with and allocates funding to a number of community agencies to support their programs and help them leverage state and federal funding. The department also serves the needs of our veterans through our Veterans Services Program. Veterans and their families are assisted in applying for the full spectrum of benefits they may be eligible to receive for their faithful service to our country.
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners remains committed to serving the needs of all of our citizens. As a department, and as a county, our commitment to you is to remain true to our mission:
To improve the quality of life for all residents of Pinellas County by providing, coordinating and advocating for health care and essential human services for those most in need in our community.