HOMELESS CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
“I wanted to thank you so much for helping me and my son have a beautiful new start with an amazing place to live.”
The thank-you note was waiting for us at Harvest House, a Sarasota-based nonprofit that serves homeless individuals and families. It was given to a Gulf Coast donor who helped a single mother and her six-month-old baby move out of the woods, where they had been living, and into a safe and stable apartment they now call home. When people hear this story or learn that more than 900 students in Sarasota County Schools will be homeless at some point during the school year, many are shocked. But the face of homelessness has grown increasingly diverse and visible in our region.
At Gulf Coast, we won’t accept anything less than a first-class system of services to help these children and their families succeed. Considering the resources we have in this community, we can’t. While an array of help is available for the homeless, it must be strategically coordinated into a data-driven system that graduates people from the streets to permanent housing. Adding children into the equation compounds the challenges and needs of homeless families, from shelter options to childcare. Gulf Coast’s Homeless Children and Families initiative brings together many agencies that provide help and aims to restring our regional safety net for some of our community’s most vulnerable members.
A Systems Approach
Dr. Robert Marbut, a consultant hired by Sarasota County and several muncipalities to craft a strategic action plan on homelessness, said our region is on the brink of a crisis. We have an alarming number of homeless mothers with children in Venice, North Port, and Englewood. The City of Sarasota, meanwhile, is overwhelmed with adults who are homeless and cycle in and out of shelters or jail. While the stakes are high and the issues complex, Gulf Coast is working to identify and close gaps while we work toward a systemic solution for homeless children and families. We invite you to learn more about this issue and join our efforts.
Read Gulf Coast’s PROACTION magazine that looks at the people and stories of homelessness.
Read Dr. Marbut’s research and action plan for homelessness in Sarasota County.
Be a Proaction Hero
Gulf Coast established the Homeless Children and Families Fund to support this initiative. We invite you to work with us to trasnform the way we address homelessness in our region. Robert Marbut recommended that Gulf Coast take the lead in coordinating and supporting services for homeless children and families throughout Sarasota County. That’s a role we were committed to prior to his study and remain committed to today. Our focus is helping service providers move to a systems-centric approach that ensures every family in our community who wants help can get it.
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