Sarasota PD outreach program helps homeless

Posted at 6:49 PM, Sep 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-25 18:49:24-04

Sarasota city leaders have been discussing what to do about the city's homeless population.  One of the answers is the Sarasota Police Department's homeless outreach program.


"We serve them with education, we want to keep their dignity intact, it's not a crime to be homeless," said homeless liaison officer Calvin Collins.


Collins and his crew walk the areas where homeless people live to see what type of services they need.  The team works with social services to get people help.


"We approach them like any other citizen in the city of Sarasota, everybody is the same and we give them the same respect," said Collins.


Business owner Caridad Guanche said she see's the work being done.  She hopes more can be done to get the homeless people away from downtown patrons.


"They repeatedly come over for free stuff," said Guanche.  


Collins said the City of Sarasota continues to find ways to lower the homeless population.  He believes the population has declined over the past two years.


"We are managing things and we are making some headway, remember you have to engage them continually, and it's a work in progress," said Collins.


If you or someone you know needs services in Sarasota County call (941) 955-8987.