County wants $8k from LBK for homeless strategy

Associate Publisher

Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota signed an agreement Aug. 9 with San Antonio-based Marbut Consulting to design a Strategic Action Plan for addressing the homeless in Sarasota.

Sarasota County is also requesting the Town of Longboat Key contribute $8,000 toward the $40,000 contract total with Dr. Robert Marbut which the town commission will discuss at the Aug. 14 Special Meeting at 9:30 a.m. in Town Hall.

In a letter dated July 24, Deputy County Administrator Lee Ann Lowery wrote to town commissioners requesting the funding since homelessness “is a community-wide issue,” and the plan, states Lowery, will be a “community plan.”

Longboat Key Commissioner Phill Younger said he will not support the funding.

“We have stopped funding on similar items, some of them more pertinent and relevant to Longboat than this one, and I don’t see that I’ll support this one either,” said Younger.

Dr. Marbut’s consulting firm will be specifically examining the need for shelters for families in north and south Sarasota County and a shelter for the chronically homeless in the City of Sarasota.

According to the Suncoast Partnership to end Homelessness, the homeless population in Sarasota has more than doubled since 2011, with Sarasota County’s homeless population totaling an estimated 1,234 and Manatee County’s an estimated 820 people. In both counties combined there is an estimated 444 children under the age of 18 who are homeless.

Last April, in an effort to increase safety along roadways where homeless individuals were soliciting money from drivers, the Sarasota City Commission voted 4-1 to pass an ordinance which made it illegal to solicit or distribute donations from specific public roads and medians throughout the city.

Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell regarded the ordinance as a positive move forward for the City of Sarasota, but the American Civil Liberties Union asserts it may challenge the ordinance in court.


Details of the contract

The contract states that the Primary Objective is for the consultant to develop a Strategic Action Plan to evaluate and improve the efficiency and organization of homeless services providers. According to the contract, the Scope of Work will be divided into seven phases.

The phases in the contract are listed as:

Phase 1: Inventory. Consultant shall perform an inventory of all homeless services in Sarasota County and conduct visits to all homeless services providers.

Phase 2: Needs Assessment. Consultant shall conduct a needs assessment of types of services (qualitative) and capacity of services (quantitative) needed in Sarasota County. This will include street level observation and analysis of as much data as consultant can gather from the point-in-time-homeless counts, 211 information, HMIS (Homeless Management Information System), agency reports, etc. Consultant will provide activity log noting date and time of street observations and visits to service providers that will be submitted monthly to the County.

Phase 3: Gap Analysis. Consultant shall conduct a gap analysis of services between inventory and needs. If the gap analysis includes a recommendation for new facilities, the consultant shall identify the type, size and general location for each facility as well as review potential sites for consideration.

Phase 4: Strategic Framing. This will require consultant to conduct in person meetings with government staff members, elected officials, business leaders, faith based entities, civic groups, educational groups, other agencies and homeless individuals.

Phase 5: Prepare a Draft Strategic Action Plan. Consultant will prepare a Draft Strategic Action Plan for City and County review.

Phase 6: Comment and Best Practices. Consultant shall present a Draft Strategic Action Plan for comment and discussion. This will require consultant to perform numerous one-on-one briefings to government staff members, elected officials, businesses, faith based entities, civic groups, educational groups and other agencies.

Phase 7: Complete and Present Action Plan. Consultant shall finalize the Strategic Action Plan and submit the Strategic Action Plan to the County and City. This will include a presentation at a City Commission and County Commission meeting, joint meeting or workshop.


Marbut Consulting and other cities

Dr. Marbut has worked on the homeless issue in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Key West, Panama City, Fresno, CA, Fort Smith, AR as well as creating the Haven for Hope in San Antonio, TX.

Dr. Marbut tries to provide new methods of reducing homelessness through what he terms “The Seven Guiding Principles of Transformation” and the “Core Tenets of a Transformative System.”

According to Dr. Marbut, “Transformative systems offer homeless individuals the option and ability to succeed by becoming self-sufficient, thereby dramatically reducing the homeless population within any given community. As such, we recognize the importance of customizing these systems to each unique community.”

According to the Marbut Consulting website, the systems Dr. Marbut utilizes influence how plans are developed to establish transformational communities, such as in designing buildings, repurposing existing facilities, hiring people, activating volunteers, engaging the homeless community and working with government, business, faith-based and non-profit organizations.

The largest example of Dr. Marbut’s work is the Haven for Hope facility he developed in San Antonio. It is a type of homeless community campus consisting of 15 buildings situated on 37 acres and totaling almost half a million square feet under roof. The total construction cost for Haven for Hope was approximately $125 million. The campus has 80 faith-based, non-profit and government service partners which work together to help the nearly 2,100 residents.

The Marbut Consulting website reads, “While traditional shelters may have graduation success rates of 5 percent to 9 percent, transformative communities around the country have graduation success rates of 51 percent to 84 percent of residents graduating from their programs.”

Dr. Marbut served as a volunteer, then later as a San Antonio City Councilperson/Mayor-Pro-Tem and a homeless service agency President/CEO, and has worked on homeless issues for more than three decades. Dr. Marbut was also White House Fellow to President George H.W. Bush and a former chief of staff to San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros.

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4 Responses for “County wants $8k from LBK for homeless strategy”

  1. William Kary says:

    @ Who’s on First: From my recollection public transportation will not cease regardless of Bullock. GMD is a State Road and I don’t think LBK has any say on the matter. A trolley yes, but a bus no, at least as I understand it. That being said, as Ghostrider states illness and poverty are not crimes and if we as a society don’t step up to the plate and assist, the issue is not going away. It is certainly trying, but if in your heart you don’t have the ability to offer a “hand up” maybe it’s time to take another look in the mirror. Your view point is very short sighted and so common on LBK. NIMBY so it’s not my problem…

  2. TooMuchSense says:

    Yes, just another day in paradise. Who’s on First says the uber-wealthy don’t want to help invest in a solution because it’s not in his/her back yard — yet.

  3. Ghostrider says:

    Who’s on First says: “…the homeless have no way to get out here, so why should we pay for a problem that doesn’t exist? ”

    You’re willing to spend twenty-five million for a beach restoration, but, spending eight thousand dollars for….

    P.S. Illness and poverty aren’t crimes.

  4. Who's on First says:

    Let’s see now, if Manatee County wants money for public transit, and Sarasota wants money to pay a homeless advocate, and Mr. Bullock is prepared to say no to Manatee County, then the answer is simple – public transit goes away, and the homeless have no way to get out here, so why should we pay for a problem that doesn’t exist? You have to wonder, who’s next to come to uber wealthy Longboat Key with their hands out? You’d think property taxes going to both counties would be more than enough, but elected politicians keep forgetting who pay their wages……until, of course, people get fed up and vote them out.

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