A new 10-year-plan aimed at ending homelessness in Sarasota County is going to take the community’s help, input and cooperation if it wants to succeed, organizers said Wednesday.
“Have to move away from a crises management system and move into stability and have to move into partnership and collaboration and be smarter in how we deliver services,” said Adam Tebrugge, co-chairman of Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness’ 10-year plan.
The executive summary of the draft plan — StepUp — was released at a Wednesday press conference at the R. L. Anderson Administration Building in Venice where the public got its first glimpse of how homelessness could end in Sarasota County.
More than 16,000 people in 2010 sought services from Suncoast Partnership providers for homelessness and economic hardship reasons, according to the partnership’s Web site.
“It was never our intention to come up with a set of guidelines that would sit on a shelf somewhere,” Tebrugge said. “We are asking every member of Sarasota County to step up to the plate.”
Richard Martin, executive director of Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, said the plan should be ambitious, visionary and realistic.
“Our vision is very simple,” he said. “Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.”
Vol. 2 will be rolled out in phases on StepUpSarasota.com where visitors are encouraged to comment.
“It’s sort of a wiki blog and make your comments, throw your darts and arrows, make this yours,” Martin said. “This is a draft.”
The plan has five objectives:
• Streamline countywide systems to develop, fund, implement and monitor programs that address homelessness, poverty, and economic stability
• Meet immediate needs of the homeless
• Develop communitywide intervention programs to identify and stabilize housing for people and families at risk of homelessness
• Use cost-effective ways to provide levels and steps of housing to support people toward permanent housing
• Cultivate economic stability by creating steps toward self-sufficiency, permanent housing and financial stability
On the human-to-human interaction end with the homeless, the challenge is making the homeless aware and comfortable of services that are provided to help them, understanding their background and identifying disability or veteran status to make accommodations and funding and logistics of providing them with their birth certificate, social security card and a permanent ID, Martin said.
On the organizational and bureaucratic end, it’s getting organizations to cooperate with each other, having input with the plan and coordinating services so there’s no gap, he said.
Suncoast Partnership will continue to introduce the plan at various boards and commissions — public and private — to have input and eventually want each part, whether it’s a city council, a non-profit board, the hospital or police department, adopt their part of the plan to implement, he said.
Other initiatives include work with United Way’s 2-1-1- system of Manasota to develop a service delivery system to efficiently provide help, build single-room occupancy housing and open a One Stop Center/Day Shelter in south county, according to the plan.
“Turning hopelessness into hope is an aspiring process,” Martin said.