SARASOTA FL--- Consultant Dr. Robert Marbut released his final report on how to curb the area's homeless problem. The plan calls for the implementation of 12 steps but even though he's gotten the green light from local government agencies he also needs the community's help to implement the strategy.
"This is a system that we are talking about, this is not a magic box that if you do this everything is going to get fixed," said Dr. Marbut.
He the homeless consultant hired by Sarasota county and the cities within the jurisdiction to come up with a solution to tackle the homeless problem. He's recommending an action plan of 12 strategic steps-- one of which includes stopping what he calls enabling behaviors
"If the average citizen continues to give cash out the window, provide panhandlers money and also give food on the street this is not going to work. We have to change the culture," added Marbut.
The 12 recommendations also calls for the implementation of case management systems and outreach programs but, Marbut says controversy is brewing over the recommended locations of 5 new shelters.
"Most people get that we need to move from enabling behavior to engaging behavior. That we shouldn't be agency centric we should be systems centric, instead of output oriented we should be out come. What people have a hard time with is eventually we have to put these somewhere and nobody wants it in their backyard."
Most of the concern have been centered around the Safety and Triage Stabilization Shelters proposed for the city of Sarasota. The facility will have about 250 beds and the homeless would have the option to go there instead of sleeping on the streets or going to jail. Marbut says it would be best if Sheriff Department runs the shelter. And, he promises that from the street people wont know it exists. "If you do them right they actually draw the bad that's out there now in and you wont get the hanging out and you don't get a lot of what you see on the streets now at other shelters in this county."
But with a homeless street population of about 1200 people many worry the because of the 250 facilities capacity much wont be done to solve the problem. A concern Marbut disagrees with. "You dont want to say Im handling all 1000 people at one time. There is no way that will work their is simply not enough people, not enough case managers, not enough building, not enough supplies. But as the program graduation rates go up the number of homeless people out there will steadily drop," said Marbut.
He also says on any given night many in the street homeless population will be at different stages in the process, meaning some maybe in jail, the emergency room, or even other shelters so they won't have to house the entire homeless population.
Officials say their next step is to begin the background process of vetting the potential sites proposed for the shelters. As well as work on a detailed, step-by-step action plan for implementing the 12 steps