This 30-minute podcast is a condensation of 2-hours of discussions and small group breakouts on the third in a series of “conversations” on the subject of more effectively addressing the homeless issue in Seminole County, Florida. You’ll hear the voices of more than 30 providers of services to the homeless in the county. They confront issues and consider solutions put forward by facilitators Michele Saunders, director of the county’s department of community services and Dr. Thomas Bryer, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida.
Length – 36:34
Hear the highlights of key discussion points and gain a sense of who said what to whom, all ending with a set up for the next meeting. A link to the 2-hour extended version is found below.
This podcast is augmented with voice references to various links to speaker’s slides and charts they call upon in their remarks. The links are below.
The conversation, held on June 10, 2011, took place in a conference room at Seminole County government’s Health Department complex on Airport Boulevard just south of the city of Sanford.
With a goal of developing a strategy to more effectively address the issue of homelessness in Seminole County Florida, this conversation, and several other features leading up to it, has been extensively chronicled in podcasts produced by CMF Public Media.
At several points in the conversation, Saunders is joined by Dr. Thomas Bryer who serves as a consultant for this project. Bryer is assistant professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Central Florida and with the UCF’s Center for Public and Non-Profit Management. His credentials and experience in teaching and research focuses on public participation with government agencies, citizen engagement and cross-sector collaboration. Bryer’s role is to present and interpret pertinent research findings from surveys he conducted with service providers and to facilitate group discussion.
In Michele Saunders’ closing remarks, she refers to having “dollars to invest in solutions.” The amount of funding has never been formally discussed with the provider group during the “conversation” and it is unclear whether those in the group are aware of the specifics of the funding.
In response to CMF’s inquiry after the meeting, Saunders said that the total amount the county will provide is $900,000 and they will be new funds, not reallocated from existing budget sources. She hopes that they will be made available at $300,000 per year for three years. She states the funds were approved by the county in 2010 and carried forward to the 2011 budget. Saunders advises that the county will likely place restrictions on the use of the funds depending on the plans submitted by the provider group for homeless initiatives which must become self sustaining after the third year.
Given the public policy nature of this group conversation it might have been important for the provider participants to be clearly aware of the details and specific amounts of the funding as they worked to propose solutions to the homeless problem. CMF asked Saunders why she wasn’t more transparent in disclosing the amount of the funding and its details to the provider group. In an email response, she stated that she didn’t “want the group to develop ideas around money but rather have them identify ideas and strategies around need.”
Director, Community Services, Seminole County Government
Thomas A. Bryer, Ph.D
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration, University of Central Florida
Links to documents to which speakers refer
- Referral Network Map (Power Point slides 1-5)
- Matrix – Regional Commission on Homelessness (page 1-2)
- Gaps in Service (page 1-2)
- Group Activity (page-1)
Links to other podcasts produced by CMF Public Media featuring issues related to homelessness
- Homelessness: A Community Conversation #2
- Homeless Forum (#1) Followup (12/9/2010)
- On Being… Homeless in Seminole County: The Problem & the Players
- On Being… Homeless in Seminole County: The People
- On Being… Homeless in Seminole County: The Possibilities
- Kids of HOPE
- Coping with the Economy in Seminole County: Health Clinic
- Homeless Students in Seminole County
- Commentary: Feeding the Hungry
- Commentary: Homelessness
- Commentary: Ending Homelessness
- Commentary: Health Care Services
Homelessness: A Community Conversation (#3)
Extended interview (01:54:50)
Knowledgeable homeless service providers state that in 2010 between 700 and 900 chronically homeless people are on the streets in Seminole County. That number does not include the near homeless, the recovering homeless or public school students of homeless parents in Seminole County.
In the Orlando metro area – largely defined as the counties of Seminole, Orange and Osceola, Seminole represents approximately 20 percent of the overall homeless population, yet only 4 percent of the beds accommodating and sheltering such homeless people are located in Seminole County.