An End to Homelessness - A New Beginning

For many years, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has prioritized providing permanent housing for those in dire need in our region. We know this is a critical piece in changing our community’s chronic adult homelessness condition. Gulf Coast donors brought St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) CARES to Sarasota to create rapid rehousing opportunities that had been identified as a top priority by local government and the Housing Authority. Since then, Gulf Coast donors and its Board have provided support in over $2 million.

Woman speaking at a podium

Recently, at the St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) CARES move-in celebration of the Suncoast Rapid Rehousing Program, we celebrated an end to homelessness for over 421 men, women and children (368 households) in and around the Sarasota area. The celebration recognized individuals who have successfully moved into homes through the rehousing program thanks to the network of service providers and donors who help make it possible. This rapid rehousing initiative in Sarasota County shows an important milestone in our community’s long-running effort to help chronically homeless adults.

SVdP CARES is a non-profit organization committed to ending homelessness: making it rare, brief, and one-time. They offer veteran and non-veteran housing and support programs for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Their principles of “Housing First” emphasize choice and self-determination across programs, rapidly connecting individuals who are homeless to permanent housing with no readiness requirements.

At the move-in celebration, we heard from three individuals whose powerful stories of overcoming defeat rang through the halls of Incarnational Catholic Church. One newly housed veteran shared that connecting with SVdP CARES was instrumental in making positive things happen for his life. Another man shared that he was sleeping in his car just eight weeks ago and now, thanks to SVdP CARES, he has been living in an apartment for the past month, working as much as he can with life looking up. A mother of an adorable two-year-old daughter shared that she wasn’t living in safe places when she found out she was pregnant. She discovered SVdP CARES and her life changed, as she found a job and now sees a brighter future for her and her daughter.

SVdP CARES helps house the chronically homeless because of the collaboration of many in Sarasota County. Housing is required to end homelessness. Reducing regional homelessness has long been a priority of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, with a particular focus on system improvements so homelessness becomes brief, rare, and non-recurring in Sarasota County. We were grateful to be a part of this moving celebration.


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