Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Work Begins on a Ten year Plan to End Homelessness in Sarasota County: Here is a report written by Jacob Ogles of SRQ Magazine about the executive summit yesterday to kick off the process:

Sarasota leaders are planning a summit in early February to develop a plan to end homelessness in Sarasota County in the next decade. Officials hope to focus in on specific ways to accomplish the lofty goal. "I don't want to prescribe it. I want the community to develop the solutions," said Richard Martin, director of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness. But he affects efforts to zero in on five key areas: job skills training, shelter, prevention, public safety and health and human services. Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason chaired a meeting Monday morning to discuss efforts moving forward, and officials believe a great deal can be accomplished if the problems affecting those living on the street can be better identified. Other counties, including Manatee, already have a 10-year plan in place. Leaders plan to look at what has been effective in other areas and replicate those efforts here. "Nobody believes this problem can go away completely," said Sarasota City Commissioner Dick Clapp, "But we can do a lot to get people into something that is more productive." Those involved with the effort know government funding can be hard to come by right now, and are trying to work with the existing funding through county sources and the federal government. But Clapp said some funding may be used in more efficient ways, and Martin noted that preventing homelessness creates less of a funding burden than the costs created when people remain homeless.

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