Working to Enhance the Downtown Experience


Thu, May 16, 2024 11:03 AM | Robin Parsons (Administrator)


Trying to determine the number of people who are homeless in Florida and more specifically in the City of Sarasota based on a one day count of those on that day who are experiencing homelessness is at best a single data point for one day out of 365. It becomes somewhat useful when there is a series of one day counts occurring on approximately the same day for a number of years in a row. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been collecting this one day data from local communities through a system of designated lead agencies since 2007, and the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness has been the designated agency for Sarasota and Manatee Counties to report our local data to HUD.

After the 2023 count, the latest year for which data has been reported by HUD, the alarm bells went off followed by a number of panic decisions in many states and local communities including Florida. In 2023, HUD reported 653,104 people experiencing homelessness in the United States including 30,756 in Florida. This 12% increase nationally over the prior year 2022 on the count on one day in January and 18.5% in Florida is reason for concern, and the State officials need to be alert and asking questions. However, passing statewide legislation in a knee jerk reaction based on global data for the whole state penalizes the efforts being made by some local jurisdictions like the City of Sarasota. When comparing the data since 2017 for the City of Sarasota, it becomes evident that persons experiencing homelessness had been trending downward until the data reported during the Covid era and its recovery period. Furthermore, when looking at the various segments of the homeless population for the City, it is obvious we should be proud of our accomplishments, and be cautious in racing to a fix something that may not fix our issue with persons experiencing homelessness, and may even exacerbate the problem; e.g., we report 52 persons who are chronically homeless in the City. A number in 2017 that was 137, a decline of 62%. When all segments are taken together, the results are trending in the right direction as well – 867 persons counted as experiencing homelessness in 2017, and 583 in 2023 -- a decline of 33%.

Stay the course Sarasota and we will, with compassion and common sense, manage our issues in

A very manageable way.

Peter Fanning - Homelessness Committee Chair

About DSCA

The Downtown Sarasota Condominium Association (DSCA) is the designated neighborhood organization to represent the interests of the condominium associations, townhomes, apartments and their residents, that are within the greater Downtown Sarasota.

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