The Salvation Army of Manatee County is conducting an experiment of sorts in response to community discussions about the establishment of a so-called “low demand” shelter for the homeless.
The organization’s 14th Street complex is poised to set up 90 additional beds for men during the 40-day Lenten season. Homeless men will be able to stay free of the usual shelter fee for one night. The Salvation Army will cover the cost with resources collected at Christmas.
The idea is to determine the cost and effectiveness of a low-demand shelter, which would take homeless men out of parks, back alleys and wherever else they sleep. After this information is gathered, the community can enter into another discussion about the efficacy of such a shelter.
And that talk will include how to forge the political will to support this type of haven. Salvation Army Major Ethan Frizzell stresses the importance of that point. Community buy-in is essential.
Cheri Coryea, Manatee County’s neighborhood services director, encourages business owners to voice their points of view. To that end, Frizzell is meeting with some who have complained about the impact of the homeless on their enterprises.
Any notion that a low-demand shelter would be placed next to the Bill Galvano One Stop Center is premature. Nothing has been determined. And nothing will without broad support.
The One Stop Center is an outstanding community asset that helps the homeless with medical, job and social services, aiming to lift people into better lives.
The perception that the homeless are decidedly a lazy bunch of drunks with no intention of turning their lives around is wrong on several counts. Frizzell pointed out that around 60 percent of Salvation Army clients work, though the jobs are often minimum wage or part time with not enough income to rent an apartment but enough to pay the shelter fee. Caseworkers there counsel clients on strategies on improving their lives.
The great recession has left many people without homes and jobs. Concerned citizens are working to provide lifelines. They could use more tools. A low-demand shelter could be one. Additional services at the One Stop Center could provide others.
Let the community conversation continue.
A boost to Blake
With the legal tussle over the establishment of new trauma centers in Florida, the Legislature is looking at a measure that would eliminate the state-imposed cap and the Department of Health’s power in the process.
If the House legislation covering these dramatic changes is adopted and the chamber’s Health & Human Services Committee approved this week Blake Hospital would be free to continue operating its new trauma center. The legal challenges would disappear.
This is a most welcome free-market policy. Blake’s trauma unit serves Manatee County and the region well.
Quote of the week
Is the real estate market on the mend? Pending home sales in Manatee and Sarasota jumped in January. Gloria Weed, managing broker of Michael Saunders & Co. in Lakewood Ranch, offered this reaction:
“Activity has been very strong. I’m also seeing more pending sales without new listings to absorb them ... I don’t have a crystal ball, but when you have that big of a demand and shrinking supply, prices will go up.”