Expert on homeless issues presents report to community and local government leaders

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SARASOTA, Fla. - 18-year-old Rondell Edwards spent Sunday helping to give away 270 Thanksgiving meals through the YMCA Foundation of Sarasota.

“We raise money to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to people who otherwise wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner for their families,” said YMCA volunteer, Dan Dannheisser.

Edwards was homeless before he joined the Y’s Youth Shelter program.

“The Y actually helped me out as far as having a place to stay, having clothes on my back and having food and having a hot meal every day” Edwards told ABC 7.

Y volunteer Dan Dannheisser works with homeless children and knows we have a growing problem in Sarasota County. He is thankful city and county leaders hired Dr. Robert Marbut to create a plan of action in dealing with the homeless.

“If you don’t take action now, you will have every thing you had but your homeless population will probably increase 15 to 25 percent in the next two to three years,” Marbut told ABC 7.

He created a 55-page report on the homeless issues that face our community. He also lays out a plan of action for dealing with the issues.

“The biggest over lying theme is moving from a culture of enablement which is what Sarasota has now to a culture of engagement.”

He says individuals who turn down help should not be enabled but encouraged to become active participants in programs designed to help. Programs like the Y’s Youth Shelter that gave young Rondell Edwards the helping hand he needed and a way to give back to the community.

Dr. Marbut will present his strategic action plan to city and county leaders on Monday. He will make three presentations, which are open to the public.

Monday, Nov. 25, 9-11 a.m. at the Venice Community Center, 326 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice.

2-4 p.m. at the Sarasota County Commission Chambers, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.

5-30-7 p.m. at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion, 5313 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.