Sarasota News Leader

06/06/2014

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When then-Mayor Shannon Snyder ordered the city manager to present an update on homelessness at every regular commission meeting starting April 21, he actually created a forum on the topic. Not only did this regular agenda item offer the public a chance to talk about the issue, it also provided an opportunity for indi- vidual commissioners t o r e p o r t o n t h e i r research, experiences a n d t h o u g h t s . O n Monday, June 2, the discussion resulted in an about-face in commission policy, untying police officers' hands. Last year, the Sarasota City and County com- missions jointly hired Texas-based consultant Robert Marbut to develop a plan to address a growing problem with homeless and vagrant people. While camps for homeless and vagrant people have sprouted all over Sarasota County, the primary focus is down- town. Marbut's report calls for creation of a c o m e - a s - y o u - a r e shelter offering two Vice Mayor Susan Chapman and Mayor Willie Shaw listen to a presentation during the May 19 City Commission meeting. Photo by Norman Schimmel A 'HOT' REACTIVATION ANALYSIS: CITY COMMISSION REVERSAL PROMISES THOUGHTFULNESS ON HOMELESSNESS AND VAGRANCY It will be nine to 12 months before a shelter opens, if everything is smooth sailing. Tom Barwin Manager City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor

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