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SRQ Daily Nov 5, 2016

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Since then, not much has changed. Unless you ask someone who sleeps on the streets."

- Susan Nilon, The Nilon Report

[Community]  Celebrating a Sense of Community in Uncertain Times
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

Undoubtedly, we are all seeing and reading about an America that is facing anxious moments of uncertainty. Social and economic forces are driving Americans further apart, and large institutions feel like an unlikely source of hope. More and more, our citizens are losing trust and confidence in the systematic entities that are there to supposedly support them.

However, this unrest presents an opportunity for our local nonprofits, faith-based community and charitable foundations to step up in creating a stronger sense of identity, belonging and higher purpose for the regions that they serve. We are the antithesis of cold, impersonal establishment. We are the ones working on the ground, identifying the reality our communities face, and rallying the passion of the public to be the ones to make a difference. At the heart and soul of our work are our community members.

Even in the best of times, poverty and education are difficult issues to address. Too often, state and local support systems are not aligned to address root causes in order to prevent problems before they happen. With today’s rapidly changing context, the systems that are helping our region’s most vulnerable families are challenged, and only the innovation of creative nonprofit and foundation thinking and programs can keep up.

Philanthropy has proven to be both a great innovator and a great gatherer of people, and we should be proud of our community’s commitment to generosity. As a community foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has taken the responsibility to intensify our efforts in making community philanthropy accessible, inclusive and effective for everyone as well as to deepen local knowledge and cultivate collaboration within our communities.

Just recently, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s 2016 Giving Challenge raised $13.4 million with over 63,400 contributions to support local nonprofits, thanks to the kindness of our generous community that believes passionately in its organizations and the work they are doing. Additionally, Season of Sharing has also rallied the public to raise more than $15 million since its inception in 2000 to provide a helping hand to our neighbors in need who are struggling to grasp onto financial stability and are on the brink of being homeless. The public’s enthusiasm and will to take ownership of campaigns like these are just a few examples of how our citizens believe in a sense of greater purpose and a better future for themselves and their neighbors.

Proactive partnerships are also striving to ensure that our students are receiving the very best opportunities that our community can provide for them, especially the ones whose families have been hit the hardest by economic challenges. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is making significant progress to guarantee our youngest students are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade, a significant indicator in academic success and a brighter future. The EdExploreSRQ collaboration has also been opening up doors for our young people to benefit from the cultural and scientific treasures our region has to offer through experiential learning.

The key is that we work collectively to provide a helping hand to those in need. Together, we have the expertise, knowledge, treasure and talent to address the issues facing the future of our region. Our success depends on building a genuine, honest sense of community, belonging and responsibility to answer a widespread feeling of insecurity. As a community, we can be the ones to make a difference and create positive, lasting impact. As I always say, all of us are smarter than one of us.

Roxie Jerde is president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[The Report]  Money to Burn and the Cost of the Homeless
Susan Nilon, susan.nilon@gmail.com

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 that sticks out among others is their fear that they will be “Baker-Acted” into compliance. 

On June 7, the Sarasota County Commission asked a question about the rising cost of “Baker and Marchman Act transportation and other utilization issues.” Health and Human Services convened service providers and stakeholders who could provide a clearer picture of the costs. I attended the first meeting. The numbers were staggering and the outlook was grim. 

Representatives from all the area service providers such as: First Step, Coastal Behavioral Health Center, Doctors Hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Sarasota Police Department and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office were in attendance. The one issue that resonated among the participants was not being able to keep up with the numbers of people who are brought in under those classifications. 

The Health and Human Services issued a report this week with results of their 6-month study. They noted that between October 1 and March 1, there were 2,320 individuals who were admitted into one or more of the behavioral health centers in Sarasota County. Of that number, 65 percent were identified as homeless.  Additionally, SCSO provided 57 percent of the Baker Acted transports and SPD transported 35 percent. For Marchman Act transport, SPD served 58 percent, compared to 38 percent of transports by SSO. The costs for the transport and care of these individuals for the 6-month period totaled $3.5 million. 

Another noted cost was the 1,621 trips that were made by Ambitrans. The county has contracted with Ambitrans since 2002 to provide transport from one facility to another. And 80 percent of those trips for the homeless were considered secondary transports because they originated from the hospital to another behavioral facility for a total cost of $236,000.

The Baker Act allows for an involuntary examination by a professional to give a psychological evaluation of a person who is considered a “harm to self, harm to others, or self-neglectful.” The Marchman Act is an involuntary examination for someone who “allegedly abusing substances like drugs or alcohol.” The general confinement of an individual under both acts is 72 hours. 

Florida laws permit police officers to initiate Baker Act and Marchman Act commitments without having to observe the behavior of the individual. An observation reported by of credible person is enough to meet the requirement. Most of the crimes that are associated with these incidents are misdemeanors that are low level crimes associated with quality of life issues. It’s important to understand that if the individual did not commit a crime associated with the commitment, then they must freely consent to being admitted to the treatment facility or hospital. If not, then they have the right to leave at any time during the 72 hours. In that case, the opportunity for frequent trips back increases. 

If there is no availability at any contracted treatment facilities, or there is a need for medical treatment, the individual will be taken to an area hospital. After medical treatment is received, they are placed under a “watch,” in a room where they will watch television and be fed three meals a day. No other services are provided except to make sure the individual does not try to harm themselves. After 72 hours, they are released. The hospitals are not equipped to do more.

If the individual is identified as combative, they end up at the county jail for the 72 hours. Again, no services are received.      

It was not that long ago that a plan was laid out to build a homeless shelter with services to help the homeless get off the street. But a price tag of $9 million and the mere thought of people being admitted while intoxicated put some people into a tailspin. 

Well, we obviously don’t need a shelter when taxpayers are willing to shell out $3.5 million in 6 months to do much less. And the hospitals don’t care if the homeless are intoxicated. Although in comparison, we could have the shelter paid for in less than 1.5 years. But let’s not be practical. Why fix something that is not broken?  

Susan Nilon of The Nilon Report. Contact Nilon at susan.nilon@gmail.com.  

[SCOOP]  Music Compound Salutes Veterans

Tis the season to give thanks, and this month Music Compound wants to thank their members, staff and veterans with a special Veterans Program at the November 11th Member Showcase. Admission is free to this monthly open mic night, so invite friends and family to hear the amazing students perform. Call the studio to RSVP, and mark your calendar.  

Music Compound

[SCOOP ]  Kobernick-Anchin-Benderson's New Name Aviva

Kobernick–Anchin–Benderson recently unveiled its new name. Aviva: A Campus for Senior Life. The word “Aviva” in Hebrew means spring, which reflects the organization’s commitment to providing high-quality independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. The community’s new tagline, Experience The Possibilities, is an invitation for seniors to experience all the exceptional lifestyles, compassionate care and world-class support available throughout the Aviva campus. Accompanying the community’s re–branding are $1.4 million in sweeping updates, renovations and improvements in amenities and campus grounds, with a second phase of enhancements to include an integrated center for health and wellness and a multipurpose venue anticipated to hold more than 225 people for resident and community events.  

Aviva: A Campus for Senior Life

[SCOOP ]  SCF's "Senior Sensitivity-Customer Service Excellence"

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) launched “Senior Sensitivity – Customer Service Excellence,” a new program to help businesses and their employees improve their customer service skills, with older adults. The program consists of a three-hour, interactive session that allows participants to “walk in the shoes” of older adults. Activities simulate challenges such as loss of hearing or vision, difficulty walking and dealing with arthritis. For more information contact Lee Kotwicki, director of SCF Workforce Solutions, at 941-363-7218 or KotwicL@SCF.edu

SCF Manatee Sarasota

[KUDOS ]  Friendship Centers Receive Grant For Local Health Clinics

The Friendship Centers were recently awarded a grant of $290,580 to be used to upgrade equipment and enhance medical and dental services for uninsured or underinsured clients served by its health clinics in Sarasota, Lee and Collier Counties. The funds were sponsored by the State of Florida Department of Health and Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (FAFCC), who is the fiscal agent for awarding and allocating the Florida legislature’s statewide appropriation of $10 million to free and charitable clinics. The Friendship Centers is a national pioneer in the delivery of health care to adults, age 50 and older who have limited incomes or are uninsured.   

Friendship Centers

[KUDOS ]  USF Named the Nation's Top College for Veterans

The University of South Florida has been named the best four–year college in the United States for veterans by Military Times EDGE magazine.  The “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” rankings recognize accredited institutions of higher learning for their commitment to the success of student veterans.  USF has consistently placed in the top five, but this is the university’s first time earning the top spot on the annual list. Military Times highlights USF’s proactive efforts to assist student veterans, track their progress and counsel them through their college experience. With an 83 percent retention rate and 68 percent graduation rate, USF student veterans are highly successful in the transition from the military to college.   

USF Sarasota Manatee

[KUDOS ]  Janet Walter Earns Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist Designation

Janet Walter with Michael Saunders & Company, Longboat Key South office, earned the prestigious Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist(CLHMS) designation in recognition of her experience, knowledge, and expertise in the luxury residential market.  Walter joins a growing but exclusive group of real estate professionals trained and experienced in selling and marketing to the affluent. The CLHMS designation, owned and registered by The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, recognizes residential real estate professionals who have demonstrated their experience and proficiencies in working with the affluent customer. The Institute only awards the recognition to professionals who have provided verified and notarized documentation of performance reflecting sales in the top 10% of their given market. Walter has been in residential real estate since January 2015, and specializes in luxury waterfront property, primarily on the island of Longboat Key, where she has been a resident for 15 years.  

Michael Saunders & Company

[SCOOP ]  JFCS' Annual Gala

On December 11, JFCS will present their Annual Gala, one of Sarasota’s most well–known and elegant events.  With an incredible performance by the Sarasota Orchestra, along with other special entertainment, this evening is sure to be classy, memorable and fun. ‘The Gala’ is a straightforward name, for an evening with a straightforward message: JFCS makes a difference in people's lives. While the 2016 Gala is once again a sold out season favorite, be sure to reserve your seat for the other upcoming JFCS signature events by calling Development Director, Monica Caldwell at 941-366-2224, ext. 142.   

JFCS Suncoast

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Jacob Ogles. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising, please contact Ashley Ryan at 941-365-7702 x211 or at her contact page. To unsubscribe, please click here.

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