Community Care Court Sees Success at Six Month Mark



To help address the root causes of chronic homelessness, the City of Sarasota launched the first homeless court in the state of Florida in collaboration with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, Office of the State Attorney, Office of the Public Defender, Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  The court recently marked its six-month anniversary. In that time, 21 individuals voluntarily entered the program and five successfully graduated with the criminal charges dismissed.  Three were successfully housed.

Known as Community Care Court, cases are limited to homeless individuals charged with minor criminal activity within the Sarasota city limits. Homeless individuals facing non-violent misdemeanors or criminal violations of the Sarasota City Code, such as open container, trespassing, lodging out of doors, and public urination, may be eligible for this specialized court, which focuses on causes and solutions for homelessness. Individuals who volunteer to opt into the program may be diverted into available social service programs in the region’s Continuum of Care and other service providers for mental health screening, drug/alcohol assessment, employment and housing opportunities. 

The American Bar Association recently adopted a resolution urging local courts to adopt homeless court programs as a way to help transition chronic homeless from the streets through social services and ultimately to self-sufficiency.

City of Sarasota

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