BOCC Identifies Actions on Homelessness and Workforce Housing

Dawn Kitterman
BRADENTON — In a special meeting Tuesday, the Manatee County Commission convened to discuss two separate but related emergent community issues: homelessness and affordable and workforce housing. Commissioners successfully identified directives for county administration and staff to begin research toward actionable steps the board can take in the future. The board also agreed upon some proposed motions intended to immediately begin addressing the area’s significant need on these important issues.

The meeting was divided into two sessions, a morning session focused on Homelessness Solutions and Collaborations and an afternoon session focused on Affordable and Workforce Housing Solutions and Collaborations.

Commissioner Misty Servia took the lead on the morning’s session, presenting to the board several motions for its consideration. Commissioner George Kruse took the lead in the afternoon’s session on affordable and workforce housing, also bringing to the board several motions or staff directives for the commission’s consideration. 

The meeting ran slightly longer than six hours and included several related presentations, public speakers, and lengthy board discussions on the numerous facets of consideration and potential solutions to the complex and critical issues. 

Homelessness Solutions and Collaborations  


Chris Johnson, CEO of Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness-Lead Agency for the Continuum of Care (CoC), Deputy Joy Jewett, Manatee County Homeless Outreach Team (H.O.T.), Sonia Shuhart, Manatee County Community Paramedics Social Work Team, Shellie Legarsky, Director of Homeless and Prevention Services, Jewish Family and Children Services (JFCS), Salvation Army.

Identified Needs

Prevention, diversion, outreach, emergency shelter, temporary and permanent housing, community, and government collaboration. 

Actionable steps, directives, or motions approved by the board:
  • Authorized the county administrator to initiate a homeless crisis task force as an arm of the public safety council with final approval by BOCC. This initiative is an effort to encourage collaboration and communication among community nonprofits, Manatee Sherriff outreach officers, and local governments. The task force will meet monthly and will serve to help inform the county commission on needs, progress, and successes. 
  • Authorized the county administrator to reach out to the City of Bradenton and the City of Palmetto to seek their partnerships in the initiation of a study with the Florida Housing Coalition. The study will collect data and results statistics to identify what is working, what is not, and what is needed going forward.
  • Authorized the creation of a Homelessness Coordinator position from an existing but vacant allocated Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) position. The coordinator will work with area nonprofits that work in community service to homeless residents. 
  • Authorized the creation of a county Grant Writer position from an existing but vacant allocated Full-Time Equivalent (FTE). The grant writer will seek out and apply for federal and state funding opportunities to help address homelessness. 
  • Authorized the county administrator to create a Homelessness Case Manager position from an existing but vacant allocated Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) position or Temporary (OPS) position. The county’s homelessness case manager will assist Manatee County Sherriff Deputy Joy Jewett. Deputy Jewett is the county’s homeless outreach and support officer.
To view the Homelessness Solutions and Collaborations slideshow presentation from the special meeting’s morning session, click here.

Affordable/Workforce Housing Solutions and Collaborations   


Jaimie Ross, President and CEO, Florida Housing Coalition

Topics of Discussion

Community land trust, land banking, master leasing, opportunities and solutions, affordable housing funds sources

Actionable steps, directives, or motions approved by the board:
  • Authorized direction to county staff to create a BOCC-owned and operated community land trust. The land trust will serve to provide lasting community assets and shared equity homeownership opportunities for lower-income area residents. 
  • Authorized direction to county administrator to work with a potential manager (Bright Communities or other) to set up a pilot program for a land trust in north county. 
  • Authorized direction to county staff to identify feasible revisions to the development incentives relating to workforce housing density bonuses. This would be inclusive of potentially lowering the qualifying Area Median Income (AMI) from 120 percent to 80 percent and increasing the minimum term of Land Use Restrictive Agreements. This action only directs staff to research and gather information before returning to the board with potential actionable "next steps.” 
  •  Authorized direction to county staff to research options for monetization of density bonuses to generate additional funds that can be used toward the development of affordable/workforce housing.
  • The administration and staff will continue efforts toward the creation of a land bank. Land banks are created to acquire, hold, manage, and sometimes redevelop property in order to return these properties to productive use to meet community goals, such as increasing affordable housing.
To view the Affordable/Workforce Housing slideshow presentation from the special meeting’s afternoon session, click here. 

To replay the morning session on homelessness, click the video below. 

To reply the afternoon session on affordable and workforce housing, click the video below. 

Reader Comments
Sheri J Artushenia
JUL 06, 2022  •  Maybe include some homeless people in your meetings. Some of us are quite smart and since we live homeless seems like our input might be relevant. I'm in the Hot Team program and so far (on 3rd day) I've been told very little about what I will gain by completing it. Nobody has assigned me a case mgr or explained anything about it with the exception of a few rules. I'm hopeful though it will lead to my own place by the end. I am focused on utilizing any resources available and I am determined to see it thru to the end so I can become a productive citizen again and give back to the community. Joy Jewit has been a persistent force in my life over the past year so now that I'm here I expect that she will see me thru it just as persistantly. Kind regards. Sheri A.
Paul Finer
APR 22, 2022  •  Good article
Cat Lubin
APR 21, 2022  •  Hey, maybe they can use some of that surplus budget? Thank you for summarizing this so clearly, very much appreciated.