"The potential for homelessness has become a real issue in Sarasota," said Derick Fabien, program director for Bethesda House.
"We have not been able to address that situation properly in the past, we've just been able to put a Band-Aid over it.When many of the homeless use up their days in the Salvation Army
they go into the woods or under the bridges for shelter."
Having volunteered at the Bethesda House
since 1998, Fabien
has seen a steady rise in the number of people seeking help who also end up on the streets.
is pushing for July as the move-in time for the eight future-residents who will be selected by Fabien
through an application process.
Those living in the apartments will also be provided with "life-skills training," in the hopes that they can seek employment to sustain themselves.
"The hope is that after a sufficient amount of time the individuals will be able to stand up again," Fabien
said."We want to develop all their skills and potentials so that hopefully they can one day save for a place of their own . . . it may take six months for some, and longer for others, but we will be here for that individual."
Annually Bethesda House
helps more than 400 people, Fabien
said, and serves an average of 8,000 pounds of food a month.
Sarasota, after banning people from sleeping outside overnight over public or private property, was named the meanest city for homeless in 2005 by the National Coalition for the Homeless
acknowledges that it was with the help of contributions from Sarasota citizens that Casa San Jose will soon open its doors.
"Locals here are very hospitable," Fabien