Money to Burn and the Cost of the Homeless

Reprinted from SRQ Daily, Nov. 5, 2016 PBS – A report on the Homeless It was a year ago this week that PBS came to Sarasota to report on the state of homelessness in our community. Since then, not much has changed. Unless you ask someone who sleeps on the streets. Aside from tougher ordinances that have been implemented by Sarasota County, the one issue…

Sarasota’s Shell Game

Originally published for SRQ Daily A photo was posted on social media this week that showed the bicycle racks out in front of the Selby Library. It was actually hard to see the racks themselves because they were being used to support trash bags filled with items instead of the bicycles that there were intended for. At first glance, it looked like the garbage collectors forgot to…

The Human Condition

On December 21, during the Longest Night, the Salvation Army honored our homeless citizens that died this past year. That list numbered 57 people—the largest number of deaths on record in a 12-month period. Reverend Dr. David Sutton held back the tears as he called out the names. Just two days before, Major Ethan Frizzell announced in the press that our chronic homeless numbers had…

When a Bench is Much More than a Bench

In August of 2011, the city of Sarasota removed the five park benches in Selby Five Points Park.  It was the beginning of a long effort to rid the city of the homeless who call our city their home.  The city also removed the two-foot perimeter wall around the park that allowed people to sit when the park benches were full.  Since then, the only…

Pro-Birth Vs. Pro-Life

A young pregnant woman one week ago went into our local health department for care. Homeless and unemployed, her options were limited. One week later, she is now receiving regular prenatal care at the clinic and is enrolled in a housing program through Trinity Without Borders. Her baby now has a better chance of survival because of the care that we can offer her in our…

It’s Not Just About Michael Barfield

Before my parents, Father Jim and Nikki Nilon, donated the Bidwell House and the Crocker Church to the City of Sarasota, they housed their homeless mission in the buildings on Florida Avenue – two blocks from the Salvation Army.  For over two decades, they have devoted their lives to helping the homeless in Sarasota. I mention this because it is in their honor that I continue to…

Fla Guardianship

Homelessness, the Law, and Fla Guardianship

It can’t be louder than this Sarasota Tiger Bay held a panel this past Thursday featuring the Constitutional Offices of our county.  And what some might think would be a “yawner” when the purpose was for each of them to give us an update on their department (including myself,)  what we witnessed instead was a moment in time that I could not have planned for…

Pride and Prejudice: A City’s Struggle with the Homeless

Fear and loathing of the drug-addicted homeless who will undoubtedly flock to District One in numbers never before seen are what have prominent members of our city up in arms. From the moment Dr. Robert Marbut released his study, certain distinctive members of our city have had their nose out of joint because his top three locations are in District One, otherwise referred to as…