Sheriff’s Housing Initiative Facilitating Transient Services (SHIFTS)
SHIFTS is a unique partnership between the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County, and CASL that provides transitional supportive housing to individuals relocating from homelessness. Since March 2015, CASL has dedicated 20 beds at any given time within Sarasota County for the program. The 24/7 90-day program requires participants to attend daily recovery meetings, mental health groups, and volunteer opportunities if not employed.
SHIFTS aims to achieve housing sustainability by linking individuals with case management, medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse services along with other community-based resources. The SHIFTS program has served more than 300+ individuals who have transitioned from homelessness to permanent supportive housing or independent living.
For 2020 / 2021, 82% of the participants exited the program to permanent housing, far surpassing the 30% state average.
Additionally, 98% of the program participants said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the care they received.
Jenna Alvarez of CASL, who was with the SHIFTS program when it started, recruited homeless individuals from local public parks and homeless camps. Jenna expressed the positive impact the program has had on individuals’ lives, transitioning successfully out of homelessness and into stable housing. The program has helped reduce the incarceration recidivism rate and increase clients’ income via social security benefits or employment.
SHIFTS clients receive:
• Assistance with activities of daily living
• Transportation services to meet individual service plan goals
• Referral and monitoring of primary healthcare, dental, and behavioral health
• Assistance applying for benefits
Profile of SHIFTS resident:
Before arriving at the SHIFTS program, Gene lived on Sarasota’s streets for several years. Gene was an elderly gentleman who was a recovering alcoholic, having struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. Gene came to CASL through the SHIFTS program shortly after he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He regularly attended local AA members and was a beloved member who provided support to others in the group.
CASL case manager, Alicia Cangialosi, worked closely with Gene. Alicia enjoyed working with Gene and was proud of the strides he had made in overcoming his alcoholism. Gene was with CASL at the SHIFTS housing program for a year when his lung cancer became chronic. Sadly, Gene was aware of his deteriorating condition and didn’t run from it. When the time came, Gene drove himself to hospice and passed shortly after. Thankfully, the SHIFTS program allowed Gene to pass with dignity and a support network around him. Thanks to the Sarasota County Health and Human Services funding and CASL’s partnership with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the SHIFTS program continues to help others like Gene.