New shelter site unavailable


New shelter site unavailable


Date: April 7, 2014
by: Nolan Peterson | News Editor



The search for the downtown location for a proposed “come as you are” homeless shelter has hit yet another snag.

Sarasota County Director of Homeless Services Wayne Applebee sent an email to Sarasota County commissioners April 7, informing them that, according to city of Sarasota staff, the buyer of the property at 1502 and 1563 Lime Ave. is not willing to sell or lease the property for the purpose of building a homeless shelter there.

The unavailability of the site dampens enthusiasm for what city and county commissioners considered a major act of compromise last week in their ongoing debate over where to build the facility.

After weeks of tension between the two boards due to the perception among county commissioners and county staff that the city was deliberately trying to stall the selection of a site, the two boards reached what was touted as a major compromise by selecting a third possible site for the facility at a joint meeting April 1. The two boards had planned to further discuss the Lime Ave. site at an April 22 joint meeting.

The project remains stalled due to lengthy environmental studies of the original two site options at 1330 N. Osprey Ave. and 1800 East Ave.

Some city commissioners claim the studies are necessary to protect the city’s utilities infrastructure and for homeland security concerns, while some county commissioners call the exhaustive environmental reviews delay tactics to ultimately prevent the facility from ever being built downtown.

County Commissioner Joe Barbetta pushed to continue the review of the original sites to prevent further delays to the shelter. Homelessness expert Dr. Robert Marbut, who was hired by the city and county to study homelessness in Sarasota County, recommended the facility in a study released last November.

“We need to keep this on track,” County Commissioner Joe Barbetta wrote Applebee in an email, “so it would appear that we continue with our two primary sites as you and Dr. Marbut had originally been doing.”

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Currently 5 Responses

  • 1.
  • There should be a work program for the addicted bums located out of the city, away from drugs and alcohol, where they can also learn how to farm and support themselves. Sarasota is enabling those who know how to play the system and invite their friends down from colder climes.
  • Judy Hummer
    Tue 8th Apr 2014
    at 4:54pm
  • 2.
  • perhaps a location next to the city commission offices would be more appropriate.
  • john andrews
    Tue 8th Apr 2014
    at 11:43am
  • 3.
  • They have not considered the Anderson Brownfield off of 27th for low cost housing yet. That is a huge lot.

    The clean-up is probably minimal, and some funds for the clean-up are already in hand. Once truly low-cost housing is built, all the "hard times" homeless will have homes.

    The only ones left to worry about would be the ones who just like camping out so they can save their money for drugs and booze. They are hard cases, but there are not as many of them.
  • Pete Theisen
    Mon 7th Apr 2014
    at 7:41pm
  • 4.
  • It's time to abandon the shelter farce. It would be a boondoggle anyway. The city doesn't want it, the county doesn't want it. Now with the recent news about Paul Caragiulo and Joe Barbetta, it might be resignation time for both, and no one else would be pushing the shelter. Just like the noise ordinance, It was a bad campaign idea anyway!
  • commenton observer
    Mon 7th Apr 2014
    at 4:45pm
  • 5.
  • What I don't get is that we keep adding services to help the homeless, but their numbers keep growing. We have a huge Salvation Army building near downtown, which was built back in the 90's to solve the problem, but it obviously didn't. Isn't the Salvation Army more of a "homeless expert" than this Marbut fellow? After all, they've been after the problem forever, but they can't solve it. Does anyone really believe that yet another facility is really going to solve the problem? Or will he and his band of do-gooders simply add to it. Don't get me wrong, I have great sympathy for the people who find themselves temporarily homeless due to misfortune, but I have nothing but contempt for the professional homeless who plague our public spaces. Maybe Barbetta could help get some of them off the streets by putting them up in his condo.
  • john wilson
    Mon 7th Apr 2014
    at 4:09pm
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