Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Call to Action: The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness Needs Your Help

As most of you know, the State of Florida cut funding to Homeless Coalitions by 80% last year, severely limiting the capacity of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness ability to maintain the level of service to homeless service providers in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. This Thursday, DCF will present their proposal to cut 15% from their budget which includes a 100% cut to homeless funding in 2010 budget year (see details below)! The repercussions of this cut will have a devastating effect on our ability to prevent and end homelessness throughout Florida and within our Continuum of Care at a time that the demand for services continues to skyrocket. The cut would eliminate the Florida Office on Homelessness and Council on Homelessness, the state's only emergency aid program to keep families with children from being evicted and all Challenge Grant funding (four agencies received $96,000 this year for homeless outreach (Manatee Glens), legal services (Gulfcoast Legal Services), homeless prevention services (provided by Jewish Family and Children's Service in Manatee County and Catholic Charities in Sarasota & Manatee Counties).

Please contact our two state senators, Mike Bennett ( or 1-800-500-1239) and Nancy Detert ( or 1-866-247-4076) and let them know what this funding means to our community and your efforts to prevent and end homelessness. Their contact information is available by clicking on the link below.

Sample Message:
More and more Floridians - including families with children - are facing and becoming homeless every day. As a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, now is not the time to turn our backs on our neighbors in need. During the 2009-2010 FY, these programs have/will assist more than 30,000 Floridians who were homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.

These programs and funding are needed more than ever before. Do not cut these funds - people's lives are depending on them.

Thank you,

Richard Martin
Executive Director

From: Florida Coalition on Homelessness

DCF's 15 percent reduction plan is a 100 percent REDUCTION in homeless funding.

This Thursday, DCF will present its proposal to reduce the department's budget by 15 percent - a proposal that would include a 100 percent reduction in homeless funding - to the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations committee staff. (This is line 10 in the proposal.)


The Details:
These reductions would end the State's commitment to provide resources to help those facing homelessness in Florida.

The Cuts:
· Would eliminate the Office on Homelessness and its two state funded positions
· Would eliminate the funding to support the statewide Council on Homelessness, causing it to no longer function.
· Would eliminate the homeless Challenge Grant and funding for local homeless service providers
· Would end the funding of a staff position at the 28 local homeless coalitions around the state.
· Would end the state's only emergency aid program to keep families with children from being evicted.

Combined (statewide) Impacts:
· 90 to 100 local non-profit service agencies would lose funding for critical programs for shelter, food, clothing, health care and transportation.
· 40,000 homeless persons would lose local services.
· Over 2,000 families with children in 2010 will be evicted and face living on the street.
· At least 5 of the state's 28 continuums of care would not be able to implement the federally mandated homeless information system.
· Likely to see from 10 to 15 of the 28 local homeless coalitions close.
· Estimate that Florida could lose up to 25% of the $67 million in federal grants supporting housing options for the homeless in 2010.
· Estimate that the total homeless population in Florida will increase by at least 10 percent, and could rise by more than 25 percent over the 2009 count of 57,687 persons.

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