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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Special Needs Shelters

Florida Department of Health - Hillsborough County


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 that may require assistance from medical professionals. Shelters are not staffed to provide bedside care. Although special needs shelters provide more care than a general shelter, they do not provide the level of care found in a medical facility. For Hillsborough County, eligibility criteria may include, but is not limited to:

  • A person with a stable medical condition that requires periodic observation, assessment, and maintenance
  • A person requiring periodic wound care assistance (i.e. dressing changes)
  • A person requiring assistance with oral, subcutaneous or intramuscular injectable, or topical medication
  • A person medically dependent on uninterrupted electricity for therapies including but not limited to oxygen, nebulizer, and feeding tubes
  • A person with mental or cognitive limitations requiring assistance A person requiring dialysis

Things to Consider

  1. All Hillsborough County residents are expected to make their own evacuation plans. It is important that everyone be responsible for their own safety and make a plan that includes where to go, who to contact, what to bring, and how to get there. However, the County realizes that some individuals may need assistance and have emergency shelters available for residents and visitors available as a LAST RESORT.

  2. If you receive hospice care or reside in an assisted living facility, do not register. Please contact your assisted living facility or hospice agency for emergency preparedness planning. They will arrange your sheltering and/or transportation needs.

  3. Please review our FAQ document for more information about Hillsborough County’s Special Needs Shelter Program.

University of South Florida Sun Dome set up into a special needs shelter

How To

To register for the Hillsborough County Special Needs Shelter Program, you must complete the program evaluation form. Please see below for the different ways you may complete this form. The evaluation form requests information about your medical problems and needs. Please be as detailed as possible so we may evaluate your form accurately for eligibility. Once your form is evaluated, you will receive a letter indicating your status along with more information about the program.

  • Online registration

  • Complete an evaluation form and mail or fax to:

    Hillsborough County Health Department
    P.O. Box 5135
    Tampa, FL 33675-5135

    Fax number (813) 276-8689

    English form*
    Forma española*

  • Call your home health care provider

  • Call the Hillsborough County Health Department at (813) 307-8063

    * This is a fillable PDF form and may not open correctly with some browsers, such as Chrome or Firefox. Please download the form, then open it using a PDF reader, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download the Adobe PDF reader for free.