City of Sarasota Logo Where Urban amenities meet Small- town living

City of Sarasota Logo
City Hall
1565 First Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

For Immediate Release: April 7, 2015
Contact: Jan Thornburg, Sr. Communications 941-954-2613


City Commission Embraces Next Steps
to Address Chronic Homeless Issue


Sarasota, FL: The City Commission unanimously accepted a report last night proposing an eight step action plan to address the chronic homeless issue.  While priorities and specifics will be finalized at a future date, the City Commission enthusiastically embraced a new, detailed plan which calls for the City to coordinate with government agencies, secular institutions, faith based organizations and private philanthropists to provide short term and long term solutions to this challenging issue.


Following much staff research and extensive dialogue with local homeless services providers, the action plan was presented to the City Commission by City Manager Tom Barwin.  The recommendations emphasize a need for a decentralized approach which will not overstress neighborhoods and business districts, while prioritizing housing for the chronically homeless.


“These eight action steps are a fresh road map to guide us with the homeless issue,” said City Manager Tom Barwin.  “This is a daunting challenge.  But, we believe our community is committed to improving the collective response to the challenge of chronic homelessness and its associated human and financial costs.” 

Considering arrests, jail time, emergency service calls and miscellaneous expenses, it is estimated that the average annual cost for the approximate 1,000 chronically homeless individuals in Sarasota County, is approximately $10 million per each year.  That translates into an estimated $10,000 per chronically homeless person per year. 


The action plan challenges local churches, philanthropists and others to commit to raising the funds necessary to provide short term transitional housing as well as long term low rent permanent housing.


The eight action steps and goals, which will be discussed for implementation by the City Commission in the near future, are ambitious and strategic, and cover the spectrum from fairly quick solutions to long term investments in affordable housing.  The recommended eight action steps, as outlined in a memo from City Manager Tom Barwin are:


  1. Hire an Action Plan Coordinator
  2. Initiate a Housing First Program
  3. Encourage a Street Diversion, Navigation Center, Transition Housing
  4. Double Mental Health Beds in Sarasota County
  5. Low Rent Housing Construction
  6. Elected Officials Explore Funding Options for Countywide Ballot Consideration
  7. Homeless Outreach Teams Access to Homeless Management Information System
  8. Information/Responsibility Cards for Chronically Homeless


City Commissioners look forward to a locally crafted approach with the chronic homeless issue based on the community’s 26 years of responding to the chronic homeless challenge.  The City will be soliciting additional feedback on the action plan and as many partners and collaborators as possible.

To read the complete memo submitted by City Manager Tom Barwin with detailed goals for each action step, click here.

To see the results of the City’s 2015 Homeless Survey click here.

For more information contact Jan Thornburg, Senior Communications Manager:  941-954-2613     





About the City of Sarasota: Distinguished by Google as a Digital Capital in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida's Suncoast with 53,000 year round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. Learn more about us at


Connect with Us:
FB5 imageTwitter5 imageYouTube4 image
Facebook: City of Sarasota
Twitter: City of Sarasota
YouTube: City of Sarasota


City Hall 1565 1st Street, Sarasota, FL 34236 (941) 365-2200