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City, county at odds over helping homeless in Sarasota

The city of Sarasota wants to build temporary housing for the homeless, but the county controls the funds.
Credit: Tim Burquest

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — Homeless shelters are finding it hard to make sure the people they serve are abiding by social distancing guidelines. 

Causing concern in the city of Sarasota where more than 100 people use an area Salvation Army shelter.

The federal government has provided $500,000 through the CARES Act. The city says it needs the money to put up a temporary tent city to house the homeless -- but the county controls where those funds go.

County Commissioner Christian Ziegler says he's been talking to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and the county's health director for feedback. According to Ziegler, they don't believe adding a tent city will solve the problem.

"My understanding is that there are some concerns," Ziegler said. 

"We're talking about social distancing and now they want to bring all of the homeless together in one area and that may big a big big problem. In addition to the policy going forward, but in the immediate that might be a poorly planned idea."

10News reached out to the city of Sarasota who did not have a comment, but they did provide information for this story.

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