Mission Statement & Information
To Provide, Coordinate, and Facilitate services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Manatee County, Florida.
Where can people turn when they are desperate for help with their housing situation? Our Turning Points team located at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center provides friendly, caring, compassionate assistance to people that come for help with a wide variety of issues. No one chooses to be homeless – it is not something young children aspire to. But when it happens to you or a loved one, we are here to provide basic services and help people move on a path to improve their situation, and ultimately, to independence if possible.
If you are having trouble making house payments, keeping your electricity and water turned on, or looking for a more affordable housing situation in a safe environment, you have very few options for help available to you in Manatee County.
The few agencies besides Turning Points that provide rental and utility assistance generally have less funding available than we do, making scoring an appointment a matter of luck. While our community recognizes the need for some kind of housing solution, especially with the glaring reality that more than 2000 kids each year are experiencing homelessness in Manatee County, there has been little if any progress made toward securing housing options. By sponsoring monthly meetings of interested parties and by continuing to raise awareness of the problems associated with homelessness in our community, we are working to generate commitment for a community response. In the meantime, preventing homelessness by maintaining individuals and families in their housing is our primary goal. Preventing homelessness reduces the stress on families that accompanies the process of eviction, it is far more cost effective, and it eliminates the need for changing schools, for finding a new landlord willing to accept a client with an eviction record, and for developing new strategies to cope with transportation changes.
The great appeal of the integrated approach to service delivery practiced at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center is people have their physical, emotional and spiritual needs addressed by a caring team of paid staff and volunteers who work closely together. Clients can talk with staff and volunteers face to face, not just by phone, and in my experience I have witnessed that the personal contact motivates and inspires them to move forward.
1. Provided 10,827 people with 259,836 services during 58,502 visits.
2. Provided more than $2,000,000 worth of dental/medical care for free
3. Utilized 200 volunteers who generated $1,458,984 worth of inkind services
4. Paid off the loan to successfully complete the $3.2 million capital project
5. Provided case management and counseling services to 1,621 households that came for assistance with rent and/or utilities.
In the early 1990’s, problems related to homelessness began causing concern in the Bradenton business and religious communities, as more and more people were visibly living on the streets, and churches were not able to cope with the number of people seeking assistance. Civic, religious and private entities came together and formed the Community Coalition on Homelessness to provide direct service and advocacy for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. Direct services began with information, referral, utility and rental assistance programs in 1995. In 2003, this expanded with the addition of a Day Resource Center, operated out of a tiny space in the local soup kitchen. The Board of Directors soon recognized the need for a centralized One Stop Resource Center to address the needs of the low income, homeless, and those in crisis. A capital campaign began in 2006 to purchase and renovate an empty building across from the major/minor league baseball field in Bradenton. After several years of planning and discussions, the City of Bradenton gave approval for a special use permit to operate at the site, and the Bill Galvano One Stop Center was opened for business in March of 2009.
Federally recognized as a best practice in the fight to end homelessness, One Stop Resource Centers are utilized by organizations throughout the United States. To ensure optimum success for our project, we enlisted the support of agencies when the project was proposed in 2005, and have been working closely with them since that time for the concept, construction and planning and implementation phases of the project. There are more than a dozen agencies that are providing services in the One Stop Center now, and most have staff at the Center on a part time basis. Services provided include: a daily meal and food pantry, housing and utility assistance programs,life skills training, access to mainstream services such as food stamps, social security, and disability, help with obtaining legal identification, mail service, services for homeless children and youth, free medical and dental education and services, veteran’s services, help with legal issues, DUI counseling, employment services, mental health and substance abuse services, and small business/entrepreneurial development opportunities and assistance.
Turning Points also serves a leadership role, coordinating efforts to centralize services so duplication is reduced and effective, efficient service delivery is the standard.