Save Joshua House

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Founded in 1992, Joshua House, a program of Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS), is a safe haven for abused, neglected and abandoned children in Tampa Bay. With five homes across eleven acres, the program offers healing and care in a nurturing and family-like environment for children aged 6-17 who have been removed from their homes due to crises. 

Before you sign, know that after signing this petition you will be offered an opportunity to make a donation to change.org, and we do not discourage those donations, but want to be clear that they do not go to Joshua House.

Donations of financial support, volunteer time, and other needed resources can be made directly to Joshua House on the Friends of Joshua House Foundation website at https://www.friendsofjoshuahouse.org/how-you-can-help.

The Joshua House founders raised the money and built Joshua House as a gift to CHS.  The same founders also created Friends of Joshua House Foundation to raise the money and acquire resources to make CHS’s job of caring for local foster children easier, to assure the homes were nice, and cared for, and that the children had ALL their needs met or surpassed. CHS never invested anything back into their own property. All CHS has ever had to do was run the program. It is currently the only Children’s Home operating under the CHS mission in our community, Hillsborough and surrounding counties.

Inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame by former Governor Rick Scott, child advocate Dottie Berger MacKinnon of Tampa was one of the founders of Joshua House.  She would no doubt be appalled had she lived to see what CHS is attempting to do with her generous legacy!

Unfolding events, likely due to the overwhelming support of this petition, have changed our primary focus from the original bracketed text below.  Our new focus is detailed after the bracketed text.

[A decision has been made by CHS, the property owner and administrator of the Joshua House program, to materially change the use of Joshua house for financial gain.  If they succeed, the Joshua House gifted property will no longer be used as it was originally intended.  We urge our County Commissioners to vote no on Children's Home Society of Florida's request to lift zoning restrictions on the property known as Joshua House. Once the restrictions are lifted our own local children lose desperately needed services in favor of undocumented minor immigrants. Why?  Because it is very lucrative to lease the property, but not serve our local foster children.]

The founders who donated this property to CHS intended it to serve our local foster children.  This gift of the property with the support of Friends of Joshua House has faithfully served the unfortunately displaced and traumatized children in our community, children that volunteer foster families are not equipped to successfully nurture. CHS is attempting to slip through a loophole and close Joshua House down. Then they intend to sell the property for a ridiculous amount of money.

The citizens of our community that have supported Joshua House over the years, along with many who are just learning about this travesty, ask you to vote in favor of abused, abandoned, and neglected children from our local community.

Please do not let this happen.  Do not allow [the current zoning restrictions to be lifted.] the intended use of this property to be changed.  SAVE JOSHUA HOUSE!

IMPORTANT update to petition due to changing situation 2.9.20:

Children’s Home Society of Florida, CHS, has changed their direction and moved away from leasing the Joshua House property for undocumented immigrant minors. Or maybe the interested party decided not to lease it because of our efforts? Who knows?

Instead, CHS has stated they intend to list for sale the property and homes that were gifted to them by the Joshua House creators. It only seems reasonable that they would gift the property to Friends of Joshua House or at the very least offer it to them at a VERY REASONABLE price!

All the news I have seen say that the Friends of Joshua House Foundation have a first right of refusal to purchase Joshua House property. Let’s support them and Save Joshua House for our community’s children! If I understand this correctly, there are rights and statutes that protect donor intent and gifts made to non-profits.

So let this petition serve as notice to our elected officials that we think the Joshua House property and program needs to go to Friends of Joshua House Foundation for the sole use of providing a safe haven for abused children! Keep it that way forever and no more of this nonsense!

Donations can be made to help fund the buyback of the Joshua House property on the foundations website at https://www.friendsofjoshuahouse.org/ and return this wonderful service to our community.