Sheriff’s Office announces partnership ‘to support landlords and tenants facing eviction’

Agency joins forces with United Way of Sarasota County

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) this week announced “a new partnership to support landlords and tenants facing an eviction crisis.”

A news release explains, “SCSO has joined forces with the United Way of South Sarasota County (UWSSC) to establish a program aimed at mitigating the effects of residential evictions, which may result in homelessness of the tenant. Every day our deputies encounter tenants with no alternative housing options who are also grappling with health-related concerns, financial issues, or hurricane recovery,” the release points out. Among those tenants are “vulnerable community members,” such as families with children, veterans and the elderly, the release says.

“SCSO deputies will identify and engage with those experiencing eviction and guide them to a UWSSC case manager who will review the status of their eviction and deploy a plan of action for assistance or referral,” the release adds.

Barbara Cruz, CEO of United Way of South Sarasota County, pointed out in the release, “This program is critical for our community because it aids in mitigating evictions which can lead to homelessness. Our agency witnessed first-hand how the ‘perfect storm’ impacted our community. COVID, rising inflation, and Hurricane Ian combined laid the foundation for the increasing number of evictions and homelessness,” she added in the release.

To increase awareness about this joint effort, the Sheriff’s Office has begun placing informational door hangers at the residences where tenants face potential eviction, the release notes. “These door hangers provide tenants with the contact information for the UWSSC so they can engage with the agency as quickly as possible,” the release says. “Additionally,” the release continues, “our deputies are making every effort to personally reach out to tenants before serving a final eviction notice to determine if UWSSC can assist them.”

The release then notes, “While this collaboration aims to benefit landlords and tenants across Sarasota County, it also serves as a vital resource for our deputies responsible for evictions, enabling them to assist more effectively those who may find themselves in unique situations and are uncertain about their next steps.”