Sarasota News Leader

08/23/2013

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Sarasota News Leader August 23, 2013 Page 11 ers against more than one traveling together Caragiulo did have some support on Monday. in a group to Clearwater. Downtown advocate Diana Hamilton agreed that the time is ripe to start planning for a "I'm not asking you to jump into anything," permanent public shelter in the city. Caragiulo told Chapman. "I am just saying this is a good time to discuss this." "It's perfect right now," Hamilton said in an interview with The Sarasota News Leader beCaragiulo became visibly frustrated with the fore the City Commission meeting. "We have discussion, at one point, asking Chapman, "Do a little momentum. We have Dr. Marbut, and you want to work with the county, or do you we have Commissioner Caragiulo, who sees want to say, 'No one invited me to the party?'" [the need]. He is willing to take ownership to Mayor Shannon Snyder, who also separate- see this through. If not the solution, this is at ly toured Pinellas Safe Harbor — joined by least the beginning of a humane response to County Commission Chairwoman Carolyn Ma- homelessness." son — was the most willing of the city commissioners to consider options for a shelter in She predicts a public backlash if plans move the city, but he said he wanted more informa- ahead for a downtown shelter, but just doing tion about how it would be run and which en- nothing should not be an option, she points tity would oversee its operations. The Pinellas out. County Sheriff's Office manages Pinellas Safe Hamilton used a storm analogy: If a hurricane Harbor. strike were imminent, the city would not wait "I don't like to spend money, but I was im- to declare an emergency and open a shelter. pressed by it," Snyder said. "I am interested, "Homelessness is an emergency," Hamilton but I need some more details about who is said. "We've avoided calling it that." going to do what." Although Caragiulo was disappointed by the Snyder pointed out that the Pinellas facility lack of movement at the City Commission was built before it was turned into a shelter. dais, he found encouragement the next day It was designed as a minimum-security prison. in the unanimous County Commission vote Commissioner Suzanne Atwell also opted to to set aside $500,000 for a shelter. In an input a hold on the funding discussion. "I am a terview with the News Leader after that vote, fan of Dr. Marbut, but the devil is in the de- Caragiulo said he plans to raise the topic again at the City Commission's Sept. 3 meettails," Atwell said. ing. Earlier this month, the city and county approved hiring Marbut, a San Antonio-based "I'm ecstatic and very grateful," Caragiulo consultant, for up to four months. The Town said about the County Commission's decision. of Longboat Key offered $1,000 towards cov- "The board members there see the value right out of the gate." % ering that cost.

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