Sarasota County Commission to meet on homelessness issues

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VENICE- On Friday afternoon, Sarasota County Commissioners will meet to discuss Suncoast homelessness and the recommendations of consultant Dr. Robert Marbut.

Marbut was hired last summer, and issued his report and recommendations in late November.  Sarasota County, and the Cities of Venice, North Port, and Sarasota have all agree to extend Marbut's contract and implement the 12 steps he says are needed.

While there is not a timeline to when Marbut's action plan will be implemented, he suggests the next step is to consider potential sites proposed for homeless shelters.

One of Marbut's biggest concerns is whether the community will "buy in" to the process.  "If the average citizen continues to give cash out the window, provide panhandlers money, and give food on the street, this is not going to work.  We have to change the culture," says Marbut.

The County Commission discussion will be held Friday at 1:00 PM in the Robert L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice.