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The mission of the Resident Services Department is to offer training, employment and educational opportunities to assist residents of the Sarasota Housing Authority, public housing, housing choice voucher, and NSP renters in realizing economic self sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as:
Sarasota Housing Authority’s Resident Services Department provides opportunities for residents to identify and work towards their life goals. The ultimate goal of the Resident Services Department is to help lead families to self-sufficiency. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a family is self-sufficient when:
Sometimes these goals are difficult to obtain alone. It may be the birth of a new baby, an unexpected illness or some other unforeseen circumstance that causes our residents to fall upon difficulty. The Resident Services Department supports the residents through advocacy, coaching, and even serving as role models. The objective is to identify a family’s goals and assets, and assist them in overcoming barriers in their way.
The most common barriers that we have identified are:
“SHA Parents gather for “Kitchen Table” (round table) discussion to get input from the parents of middle school aged children to find out what barriers they face and what the community could be doing better to address their needs.”
To help remove such barriers, SHA applied for and was granted a federal grant from the U.S. Department of HUD for Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS). This $150,000 grant has funded self-sufficiency programs at SHA for our residents for three years. The timing of this grant is perfect as SHA works to counsel and assist families preparing for relocation as a result of the planned redevelopment of SHA’s family sites in Newtown. SHA’s vision is to transform our residents’ lives as well as to transform our housing stock and the community.
The Resident Services staff includes an administrative assistant, two case managers who are led by our Director of Resident Services.
The Resident Services department includes an on-site classroom and large meeting room for program sessions and other meetings with a computer lab with 12 computers with internet access and a printer; an on-site day care center for our residents to help them attend classes or return to work; and our Resident Services offices which are located at 1731 Gore Ct. The hours are 8am to 6pm Monday through Thursday, and from 8-12 on Fridays. The computer lab is available to residents on Tuesday and Thursdays during the hours of 1 to 4. Case managers can be seen by appointment.
The Resident Services Department engages local educational institutes as well as non-profit service organizations to provide programs and classes that are developed to assist residents toward their self-sufficiency goals. Our partners are listed below:
Sarasota County School Board, Sarasota County Technical Institute · State College of Florida · Manatee Technical Institute
Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice · Children First · Department of Children and Families
Suncoast Workforce Board · Manasota Goodwill Industries · Women’s Resource Center ·
Children First · Habitat for Humanity ·Hedges Pharmacy
The Resident Services Department is constantly expanding its program offerings to meet the needs of the resident population. This year through SHA’s partnerships with the its non- profits the Department is offering training programs that will help enhance our participants life skills and develop additional job readiness skills that will lead to employment which will then promote a better quality of life.
We are always looking for employer partners, guest speakers and other community leaders to assist in this very worthwhile and rewarding mission. If you would like to assist or make donations to the Resident Services Department, please feel free to call (941) 361-6210 or e-mail us.
SHA is placing a renewed emphasis on prioritizing edcuation for our both adult residents (offering GED classes) and their children. SHA entered into an agreement with the Sarasota County School Board to, among other things, improve communication about SHA students and to combat truancy among SHA residents in an effort to keep them in class, prevent them from falling behind and to prevent early school dropout. SHA is also pleased to share information on local schools to empower parents to decide what school is best for their child. Visit this link to find out more information about our local public schools: http://www.greatschools.org/florida/sarasota/Sarasota-County-Public-Schools/.
Another initiative in SHA’s sights is the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the 150+ communities working with the Campaign are dedicated to narrowing the gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. This video shows why that gap occurs and how we can close it.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (www.http://gradelevelreading.net) is a collaborative effort by foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. The Campaign focuses on the most important predictor of school success and high school graduation—grade-level reading by the end of third grade.
Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and to master the more complex subject matter they encounter in the fourth grade curriculum. Most students who fail to reach this critical milestone falter in the later grades and often drop out before earning a high school diploma. Yet two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data. This disturbing statistic is made even worse by the fact that more than four out of every five low-income students miss this critical milestone.
Although schools must be accountable for helping all children achieve, providing effective teaching for all children in every classroom every day, the Campaign is based on the belief that schools cannot succeed alone. Engaged communities mobilized to remove barriers, expand opportunities, and assist parents in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities to serve as full partners in the success of their children are needed to assure student success.