Thanks to new funding from federal government, Sarasota County increases total available to Salvation Army for services to homeless persons

Emergency shelter beds just one facet of Salvation Army contract

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office HOT Case Manager Nancy Williams speaks with a man in a camp in a video produced by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

In early June, the Sarasota County Commission approved a revised contract with the Salvation Army in Sarasota for emergency shelter beds that can be used for persons the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) members have persuaded to stop living on the streets.

The contract also covers other types of assistance, including rent, mortgage and utility payments for formerly homeless clients.

The adjustment was necessary because of a lag in the receipt of federal funding the county uses to pay for the Salvation Army services, as staff explained at the time in a memo provided to the County Commission.

More recently — on Oct. 20 — the commissioners agreed to a new formal request from the county’s Health and Human Services Department for another contract revision with the Salvation Army. That raised the total of reimbursements to the nonprofit organization to $763,384, up from the $451,092 that the commission approved in June.

The revised agreement covers the period of Oct. 1, 2018 — the start of the 2019 fiscal year — through March 31, 2021, the contract says.

Representatives of the Salvation Army signed the document on Sept. 1, the document shows.

The commissioners’ unanimous action came as they approved their Consent Agenda of routine business items on Oct. 20.

As a county staff memo explained it, “Each year the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) allocates funds under the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Program for use in Sarasota County. CSBG Agreements have been approved by the [County Commission] since 1999. Beginning with [the 2017 fiscal year], FDEO agreements for CSBG funding are multi-year with annual modifications to incorporate new funding as it becomes available,” the memo added.

On Oct. 20, the commission also formally approved a modification of the county’s contract with FDEO that increased the state grant amount to the county from $914,630 to $1,226,922, the Consent Agenda showed. That revised contract also runs through March 31, 2021, it noted.

This page included with the Salvation Army contract shows some of the funding allocations for personnel to assist homeless clients. Image courtesy Sarasota County

“[F]unding for homelessness prevention is particularly critical at this time given the current financial challenges for families and individuals related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a county staff memo pointed out.

The amended agreement with the Salvation Army provides for up to 8.5 emergency shelter beds per day, at an expense of $35 per day for 731 days, and it also covers the cost of case managers and other persons who work with homeless clients in an effort to enable them to be able to transition into permanent housing, the contract indicates.

For example, one case worker whose position is fully paid for by the federal money will earn a $36,436 salary, with an extra $18,218 to be put toward “payroll taxes/fringe benefits,” for a total of $54,654.

In regard to the other types of financial support for formerly homeless individuals, $174,000 has been reserved for five clients to receive emergency rental assistance, at $3,000 per client household, with another $17,000 to be divided up — at $1,000 per household — for 17 more clients to get emergency rental assistance.

Additionally, $27,634 has been set aside for three self-sufficiency clients to receive rent or mortgage assistance for 18.4 months, while $36,600 is available for 61 clients “exiting substance abuse treatment [to] receive rental/mortgage assistance,” at $600 per client.

Further, $5,000 has been dedicated to “emergency water utility assistance” for 10 clients.

Another $1,500 has been allocated for three self-sufficiency clients to receive help in paying for childcare or support of other dependents.

For another example, $2,500 has been dedicated to helping “[a]pproximately 2 self-sufficiency clients … receive assistance to obtain skills or competencies required for employment (tuition, registration, textbooks, electronic manuals, and resources excluding devices) and/or post-secondary education assistance,” the contract notes.

Additionally, $5,000 will go toward helping 10 clients get tools, uniforms and certifications for employment, the contract says.