[Hpn] Partnership To Service Needs Of The Homeless

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 7 Jun 2005 07:52:11 -0400

Tuesday June 07, 2005

Partnership to service needs of homeless

Nonprofit, private and government groups team up


Herald Staff Writer

The down and out may soon have more options because homeless advocates have
joined forces with local government and the private sector to pull more
resources into Manatee and Sarasota counties.
The new Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness Inc. formally held its
first meeting Monday in the Music Hall on the University of South
Florida/New College campus.
David English, a Bradenton landlord and affordable-housing advocate, called
the meeting to order. It was also his last time to wield the gavel.
English is the former chairman of the state- and federal-mandated Continuum
of Care, a policy council that coordinated homeless programs in the
two-county area.
During the past five years, the continuum has brought in more than $8
million for homeless programs in Manatee and Sarasota. The new partnership
hopes to increase revenues by seeking funds from private, businesses and
federal programs.
With a unanimous vote, the continuum was rolled into a new nonprofit,
tax-exempt corporation that will allow its board of directors to pursue
grants that provide support services for the homeless and those at risk of
being homeless.
The changeover is timely, English said, because the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development has restricted its grants to programs that
serve only the chronic homeless with at least one disability.
The board of the new partnership is evenly split between Manatee and
Sarasota representatives, said Katie Knight of the United Way of Sarasota
Knight and the Sarasota United Way, which until Monday was the lead agency
for the bi-county effort, helped shepherd the evolution from the continuum
to the partnership.
The partnership is a union of the private, nonprofit and local government
sectors, said Knight.
The creation of the partnership will help draw funds and leadership to make
those projects happen, English said.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for the two-county region," he said. "All
segments of the community have come together to make it happen."
That makes good sense, English said.
"One individual or one group cannot bring about the change that is needed,"
he said. "It takes all of us working together."
Cheri Coryea of Manatee County government is a member of the partnership
"By the time the next HUD grant cycle comes around, Manatee County will have
its 10-year plan in place," Coryea said. "That plan will be a new focus on
what we are able to do."
The 10-year plan will give Manatee an edge in pulling down highly
competitive grants, Coryea said, that can help provide the services the
homeless need to put their lives back on track.
Donna Wright, health and social services reporter, can be reached at
745-7049 or at dwright@HeraldToday.com.

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