Home Free is a serial documentary about how Sarasota is ending homelessness. You can watch the Home Free trailer and the entire 13 episode first season below, plus a bonus interview with Robert Marbut and Wayne Applebee.
HOME FREE is a documentary web series that explores answers to the crisis of homelessness, and how Sarasota, once named the meanest city in the country to homeless people, is seeking ways to overcome this challenge.
A Tale of Two Plans
An overview of the two plans that have been created to end homelessness through the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness and Dr. Robert Marbut. Regardless of the challenges we may face along the way, Sarasota has every capability of making this vision a reality.
Shawna Machado lived in her car for over a year as she made her way through college and got a job. She is living proof that homelessness can happen to anyone, and that there are ways out of it.
Sarasota Tries to Step Up
In 2009, the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness began drafting the Step Up Plan to End Homelessness in Sarasota County in Ten Years. With participation of over 600 Sarasota residents, the plan was presented to Sarasota County and City governments, neither of which adopted the plan. The Ten Year Plan was then incorporated into the plan drafted by Dr. Robert Marbut, which local government is still struggling to adopt as well.
Sentiments on the Come As You Are Shelter
In April 2014, the Sarasota City and County Commissions convened to hear about and discuss the two locations selected for a Come As You Are Shelter. The public had some things to say about it.
Wayne Applebee Presents the Come As You Are Shelter
In April 2014, Sarasota County Homeless Coordinator Wayne Applebee presented the plan for a Come As You Are shelter to Sarasota City and County Commissions. This is a condensed version of that presentation.
Michelle’s struggle with homelessness has been a long one, building on an already difficult life of abuse and addiction. In spite of the traumas she has faced in life, and those that she continually faces, she is a gracious and caring soul who is trying to create a better life for herself and for the homeless community that she cares so much about. Although her crack addiction contributed to her experience of homelessness, now clean for a year, her felony charges of cocaine possession, prostitution, and tampering with evidence keep her largely unemployable, and medical conditions hinder her ability to help herself.
The Tiny House Build Begins
As with the rest of the country, people in Sarasota, Florida have begun to get very excited about tiny houses. The Peace Education Action Center, in conjunction with the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center has begun building a tiny house as a model of possibilities for affordable housing and one of many solutions to the homeless crisis. The tiny house was built on the Trinity Without Borders property thanks to a donation by New Panel Homes, who designed the Katrina Cottages after the disaster in New Orleans.
Willie Bell has been living on the streets of Sarasota for ten years. An admitted alcoholic and a man who has seen his share of hard times, his story is one that needs to be heard. While it is easy to pass by those that we see on the streets, the homeless have stories that can help us to understand one another better and provide solutions that we can’t see through the veil of judgment that we often hold so dear.
With Donald Gould receiving national attention for his performance of “Come Sail Away” on one of Sarasota’s public pianos, it reminded me of the many other homeless people I have seen tickling the ivories. One in particular, Steven Robert Humbert, really blew me away. He says he has only been playing for three years, but he has written what I would consider a masterpiece.
His story is very similar Donald Gould. Both lost their wives and the will the keep up with society’s demands, sinking into depression, addiction, and homelessness. It makes me wonder how many others have dealt with such hard times, but still have a lot to offer. As beautiful as his song it, watch until the end to hear his story.
Can Housing First Work in Sarasota?
On March 3, 2015, Gregory Shinn of Mental Health Association Oklahoma came to Sarasota to share the success that Tulsa has had with their Housing First Initiative. Sponsored by the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and The Salvation Army, Mr. Shinn presented a day-long workshop to a room full of homeless advocates. This is a 20 breakdown of what he had to share.
Considering that Tulsa and many other communities have used the Housing First Initiative and received great results, do you think that Sarasota can find the same kind of success?
To address the issue of homelessness, citizens of Sarasota have begun to organize community dialogues in order to become better informed and come up with workable solutions. In this particular installment, we discussed issues of working with the almost 500 people who are experiencing homelessness under the age of 18. What do you think we should do as a community to address homelessness and become better at creating opportunity for everyone in our community?
Salvation Army Sarasota Day of Hope
Pam Hawn started Hope Kids Community years ago, as a way for churches to provide for homeless and lower income families, to get the kids ready for school, and to get them looked at by doctors and dentists. This year, on August 8, Salvation Army Sarasota sponsored Tuttle Elementary, providing over 200 children with haircuts, family photos, checkups, food, clothes, and gifts. See how Salvation Army Sarasota does it, and encourage your church to get involved as well.
“Uncle Buck” talks about the circumstances that led to his homelessness, the challenges that the homeless face, and the start of his ministry, the Street Mercy Movement.
Robert Marbut and Wayne Applebee
Dr. Robert Marbut and Sarasota County Homeless Coordinator Wayne Applebee sat down with Steve McAllister to discuss what has worked in Sarasota to help deal with homelessness, and what has not. In addition to the propsed shelter, listen in as we talk about Housing First initiatives, tiny houses, and what we need to do next.