BRADENTON -- Seventeenth Avenue was busy with construction Friday.
Road crews digging up the tarmac.
Heavy equipment knocking down a two-story building.
McKechnie Field still undergoing renovations.
There was also change at the Community Coalition on Homelessness in the Bill Galvano One Stop Center, 701 17th Ave. W.
Founded in 1995 to provide services to Manatee County's homeless, the private nonprofit bears a new name:
"Turning Points" with the tagline, "Where Compassion Takes Action" on a heart-shaped logo.
The change was years in the making, says Executive Director Adele Erozer.
"We've outgrown 'Community Coalition on Homelessness,'" she said. "The whole organization has evolved based on what the needs of the community are."
When Erozer joined the coalition eight years ago, 95 percent of its clients were men. Now it's 50-50 and many of the women have children.
No longer are all the clients homeless, either.
Some are on the verge and need rental assistance. Or help getting a job. Or food stamps.
Other clients need dental or medical attention and receive it at the medical clinic opened in 2009.
"People come here at a very
important turning point in their life and we're able to get them through it and live more stable lives," Erozer said. "We thought this name better reflected what we do."
The nonprofit, which has a full-time staff of 12, along with 30 to 40 volunteers, sees an average of 200 clients a day. More than 7,000 unduplicated clients were served in 2012.
The clinic is a key component of the agency's expanded services.
Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine started the medical program there in 2009, utilizing supervising physicians and medical students in the mornings.
Since last July, Manatee Memorial Hospital has staffed the clinic with a rotation of resident physicians in the afternoon.
"It's excellent training," said Kevin DiLallo, Manatee Memorial's chief executive officer. "The patient interaction and the pathology they see at the clinic -- diagnosing high blood pressure, diabetes, wound care -- is a good marriage between the community and hospital providing an opportunity for patients with no or little resources to get some primary care."
The clinic will be enlarged from three exam rooms to eight, giving Turning Points the potential to serve 4-5 times as many people. Construction is expected to begin in March and be finished in June.
The nonprofit is selling naming rights to the new clinic for $250,000 and naming of the exam rooms for $50,000 each.
The dental clinic, staffed by volunteer dentists, has performed services that would have cost clients more than $4.5 million since 2009.
The nonprofit has also purchased the adjacent property for storage and parking.
"Another turning point for us," Erozer said.
The new name works for the man whose name is on the building.
"What we do at One Stop is give people and opportunity to get grounded once again and turn the corner, so there's hope in that name," said state Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton. "Given the breadth of services offered, Turning Points is more appropriate and more encompassing."
Suzanne Dameron, Lime Communications CEO, oversaw the name change, a process that began three years ago and included Falyn Ernst, principal of Playground941, and certified business analyst Art Mahoney at the State College of Florida's small business development center.
"It's certainly simple to say, more impactful and easy to remember," Dameron said. "More importantly, it reflects the aspirational nature of the people who work here. There was some frustration 'Community Coalition on Homelessness' didn't express the heart of the organization. That's one of the goals for the new name."
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix