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Sarasota PD team with community orgs to help homeless veterans
Time-length-icon 4m 27s
Plays-icon 78
Publish-date-icon February 13, 2014
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In early January, Sarasota Police Officer David Dubendorf, Homeless Liaison, met with Rosemarie Stauffer from Bay Pines VAHCS, Christopher Davis of Goodwill Manasota and Deshane Collins and Tom Maxa with the Salvation Army, to provide outreach at the Resurrection House and the Salvation Army in Sarasota.

Every Tuesday, the four agencies come together to offer information on benefits, registration and links to services for employment, safe housing and health care.  More than a dozen Veterans have met with the four agencies so far to set appointments for doctor visits, get copies of paperwork like the DD-214 and receive information for places for temporary shelter.

Officer Dubendorf said that in the past, the criminalization of the homeless never seemed to solve the underlying issues that plague many of those who are without shelter. So, he said the police department knew that

The effort by the department to work with community partners to help homeless veterans find shelter and seek healthcare options is part of a holistic approach that's been championed for the homeless in Sarasota by many in recent months, including police chief Bernadette Dipino and Robert Marbut, who was contracted by the city to assess the homelessness situation in Sarasota. In his assessment, Marbut outlined 12 recommendations that would improve homelessness in Sarasota. Among many suggestions that the effort will be made in a partnership of police, the city and county, and homeless advocacy organizations, the top priority states: Get the homeless into programs that help them instead of handing out food and money. With this program, Officer Dubendorf is hopeful that this community effort will serve as a solution, though its not quite there yet. The officer said t

while Robert Marbut, the Sarasota PD and other homeless advocates seek sustainable avenues for helping- rather than criminalizing - homeless individuals, they insist that the homeless must not be “enabled”, which many say got the city into its current predicament of not having enough services to help homeless veterans, families and individuals. Yet while officials caution against readily offering money or food – Sarasota and manatee counties are still home to over 2000 individuals who may or may not have a roof on a given night, which include nearly 500 children as of last years homeless census.

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