Sarasota News Leader

01/31/2014

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of a fact-finding, cross-country tour under- taken two weeks ago by a Sarasota County Sheriff's Office deputy, a city police lieutenant and Wayne Applebee, the man designated as the county's director of homeless ser- vices. They were accompanied by a Sarasota Herald-Tribune reporter, but neither the offi- cials nor the newspaper has offered details yet on what "facts" were found. Meanwhile, two cities where Marbut left his fingerprints on homelessness are reporting less than satisfactory results. The Tampa Bay Times carried an article almost a year ago (Feb, 24, 2013) saying the homeless are returning to downtown St. Petersburg. A Marbut-affiliated homeless center called Pinellas Safe Harbor was supposed to keep them out of that downtown area. Additionally, a San Antonio, TX, newspaper has reported that calls for police assistance jumped 42 percent in the neighborhood adjacent to a Marbut-inspired shelter in that city. Who should be believed in this multi-mil- lion-dollar gamble? City commissioners who are asking for facts? A fact-finding group with unreleased findings? Newspaper reports of problems near Marbut-inspired shelters? A study group saying affordable housing is the missing link in the road back to normalcy? County commissioners crying "sabotage"? "Before we spend a lot of money, we should have some confidence it will work," said Chapman at the Jan. 21 City Commission meeting. City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell replied, "Let's look at the solutions before we create problems." In the meantime, if you are homeless in Sarasota, there is always the Sanctuary, where Guillory is doing something — without a plan or a government dollar in sight. % Sarasota Vice Mayor Willie Shaw listens to the Marbut presentation on Nov. 25, 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader January 31, 2014 Page 40

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