Sarasota Handling Of Homeless In National Spotlight

The Associated Press has published a story detailing Sarasota's recent dealings with homelesness.

Sarasota's homelesness issue is part of a national media spotlight after The Associated Press published a report Friday rehashing the city's recent events over the last two years.

The report, "Homeless are a challenge for Sarasota, Fla.," by AP correspondant Tamara Lush, goes over much of what has been reported by area media and Patch for the last two years:

And then there are the things Sarasota visitors and residents see every day, reported, including the homeless at the SCAT transfer station, at the library, throughout downtown, without much help for services.

The report was originally published on NECN.com in Massachusettes, also appears in The Miami Herald and has been picked up so far by The Boston Globe, The Galveston Daily Times in Texas, The Edwardsville Intelligencer in Illinois.

The story places the blame and crux of the battle between new residents with wealth and says, without a direct source, the AP reports that "they" are pressuring police to run the homeless out of town:

"Newer, wealthy residents in the Gulf Coast city known for its arts scene and beautiful beaches are buying expensive downtown condos so they can live an urban lifestyle - but don't want the problems associated with a city, including the 700 or so homeless people who inhabit the county, the American Civil Liberties Union and others contend.

They also say authorities, including police, are trying to harass the homeless into leaving the town of 53,000 full-time residents."

Because of that wealth and upscale image, homeless have a tough go of it in Sarasota because affordable housing is hard to find, Leslie Loveless, interim executive director of Suncoast Partnership to End Homeless, told the AP:

"We need to look at transitional and permanent housing that's affordable," she said.

The Center for Housing Policy concluded that in late 2011, only 28 percent of the jobs in the area could earn enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment. To qualify as "affordable," rent must be less than 30 percent of monthly income.

One homeless person, James Franklin Jr., told the reporter he doesn't have issues with the city or police, but that respect must be maintained for the homeless.

Is this is a fair, accurate assessment of Sarasota? What does this national story do for Sarasota's image? Tell us in the comments.

liam harris January 20, 2013 at 01:54 AM
By the way, vagrant is correct by definition. Webster- One who wanders about with no recognized address or visible means of support.
Homelessness News San Diego January 20, 2013 at 02:13 AM
Your city might actually want to look at national best practices that are successfully being used across the country. By the way Tom Romano's tent city is NOT one of them. You can start at the National Alliance to End Homelessness website. Real solutions require real community commitment to work on a shared vision and goal of solving homelessness. There are solutions. Good luck Sarasota!
sharon January 22, 2013 at 01:21 AM
I am fortunate that I have not been homeless. Been close to it at times, but always came through. I used to eat at The Homeless Coalition in Charlotte County at times. There was a man there who looked well, raggedy. My circumstances became better, and I could buy my own food. One night at a convenience store, I saw him. Did not recognize him. He was shaved, clean, hair cut, and SMILING!!! He had finally found a job, saved his money and got an apartment. Yes, alot of homeless people are mentally ill. But, do you think a mentally ill person cannot work, care for an apt, and care for themselves given the correct meds and councelling? BTW check out mental illness services in Florida. You will draw a blank, unless you already have money.
jason harris March 28, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Hello. I live in NYC and have been led to this story as an activist that has the courage to *try* to look sum total problems in the USA without believing that any are separate from another.. about homelessness,, poverty and decline for major segments of our society are on the rise. The visible part of this is homeslessness and many many other maladies which signify a growing sickness within the USA. Unless you want to or think that building a wall around your, or any city, to keep the very clear signs of trouble outside I would really suggest zooming out, not looking at you home as NOT being a part of something greater than itself and chip into dicussion about the bloodletting that is going on, inflicted upon ALL of us by the rich, bought politicians and OUR policy makers. We are in serious trouble people and right thinking, unity and sound practice will be the only thing that saves us from power and the doing and thinking that has been the downfall of past societal beauty. GREED of a incredibly small number of us is what is causing this problem in your and my town and thousands of others in this country, I dare say world... peace, love and happy hunting my "regular" people..
Elizabeth May 10, 2013 at 04:56 PM
THANK YOU, Jason.........I applaud your comments...........creative solutions can be obtained via a mindset of "WE".........rather than "MINE"........We are all in this together.


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