City and county leaders can't agree on site for shelter

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Posted: Monday, June 23, 2014 10:07 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- For several hours Monday, dozens of people from a cross section of society approached the joint session of the city and county commissions.  They all came to sound-off on plans to build a shelter somewhere in the region for the growing homeless population around Sarasota.

In the end, the city and county agreed to disagree on all the possible shelter sites, to keep looking around for a better spot and meet again in late August.

The Florida ACLU told the lawmakers to find a location, and get your heads out of the sand.

"Guess what? The homeless are in your sandbox and they're not going anywhere. I can promise you the ACLU of Florida will not allow you to continue kicking the homeless down the road," said Florida ACLU Vice President Michael Barfield.

Homeless consultant Robert Marbut says they've already looked at over 80 sites, but they will continue looking.

"Normally I'd be very cynical, but because we've stalled so long, there may be some sites that have opened up," Dr. Marbut said.

Some say Marbut may not dislike the so-called stalling. The city and county have already paid him $120,000 to help solve a problem that many say is taking too long.

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