Culture
4:51 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Sarasota Looks to Hire Caseworkers for Homeless

Run-ins between Sarasota's homeless and law enforcement has Sarasota's City-County Homeless Advisory Task Force looking for ways to better serve the homeless population.

Its most recent idea: hire caseworkers.

The three caseworkers would be overseen by City Manager Tim Barwin and Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.

Barwin says hiring the caseworkers would help homeless individuals connect with mental health and substance abuse services.

"Part of what needs to happen here is also a compassionate approach to those who are suffering from some pretty serious and chronic problems," he says.

Sarasota has triple the homeless population than the national average compared to the city's size, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

DiPino believes this idea can help save the community some money "because the more people that we help and get off the streets and into the help they need, the less money we'll have to spend whether it's through police deployment or through some of the charity organizations," she says.

The City-County Homeless Advisory Task Force was created late last year after a couple of high profile stories involved police and the homeless.

Barwin says the Sarasota Community Foundation that's working with the task force, just received an anonymous $60,000 contribution to hire a casework coordinator.

They're hoping to hire someone by next month.