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Sarasota News Leader May 31, 2013 Page 13 members of the new homelessness initiative, "I compare it to a family," Weaver replied. "If you've got a problem in a family, nobody else he pointed out. in the family wants to deal with it. A lot of "Each one of us knows some group that's dothe times you have to go outside the family ing something, but we're not really sure ex- and bring in a totally independent person … actly what they do," Weaver said. Part of the to come to some resolution …" vision for the county and city, he continued, is having someone totally independent who can He added that he did not foresee hiring anylearn what services are available and "what one for a long commitment to the new initiative. are really the unmet needs." When Robinson asked whether he felt a shortRobinson said she had been upset because term consultant could provide the necessary Barwin did not seem to understand the counhelp, he said that was correct — somebody ty already spends about $4.8 million a year on independent who could say, "Here's what I contracts with human services agencies. would recommend." Pauline Tracy, the county's human services Kathryn Shea, CEO and president of The Flormanager, had provided the commissioners ida Center and first vice chairwoman of the documentation showing research she had un- Alliance, said she also felt the Alliance needs dertaken regarding such spending by counties to seek out best practices for handling homewith population levels comparable to Sarasota lessness issues across the nation. "Sarasota is County's. Only Palm Beach County provided not unique," she added. "We're just not used more funding to its health department in the to it here." 2012 fiscal year — $3,447,244 — than Sarasota Shea also said the Alliance had agreed to County did — $3,313,368. make the response to homeless issues "a top Additionally, the only other county besides priority." Sarasota that funded non-mandated subCommission Chairwoman Carolyn Mason stance abuse services was St. Lucie, which then asked whether the community's StepUp spent $44,757 compared to Sarasota County's plan, a 10-year initiative to end homelessness $1,428,844. in Sarasota County, would be part of the pro"I think [the homeless issues are not] going to be solved overnight, but understanding what everybody has available to them, getting everybody to start connecting the dots together is a great way to go," Robinson told Weaver. However, "I'm not convinced we need to hire people to do that." cess. Sutton told her, "StepUp has to be part of the plan …" He added, "There are a lot of people out there that are making tremendous efforts to help the homeless. Those are partners that you bring into the collaboration to try to search for solutions." %

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