Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

TAKING A TURN FOR THE BEST | Homeless Center's Economic Impact Raises Eyebrows

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

TAKING A TURN FOR THE BEST | Homeless Center's Economic Impact Raises Eyebrows

Article excerpt

Homeless service centers get a bad wrap. But a new study of the Turning Points center in Bradenton shows why that reputation should change.

The services provided by Turning Points at the Bill Galvano One- Stop Center generated $43.25 million in economic impact for Manatee County in 2014 by helping homeless residents avoid hospital emergency rooms, inpatient stays and jail time, and by adding quality of life for homeless adults and children and increasing property values for the neighborhoods surrounding the center.

The analysis was conducted by graduate students at the University of South Florida Muma College of Business and analyzed by Bradenton accountant and USF trustee Byron Shinn.

The report marks a major step forward for Turning Points: It's the first time anyone has been able to put a dollar value on the community impact of the services offered, said John McKay, a former Turning Points board member and former Florida Senate president.

"Most of the people involved in working at the one-stop center do it because they think, 'There but for the grace of God go I,' but to know there's such a huge economic impact is amazing," McKay said.

"It's exceptionally exciting to know it's having that kind of impact."

County savings

Opened in 2009, the Bill Galvano One-Stop Center -- operated by Turning Points, a Bradenton-based nonprofit homeless service organization -- functions as a hub for homeless adults and children to receive medical and dental care, food, clothing and job training, and it also provides support for families at risk of homelessness, such as utility or rent assistance.

The center is at 701 17th Ave. W. in Bradenton.

In 2014, Turning Points provided medical, dental and basic needs services to more than 15,000 people, which cost about $2.15 million. The program's total budget that year was $2.3 million.

But the return on the investment was exponential. For instance, by providing basic medical care, Turning Points can keep a homeless person out of the emergency room or an inpatient hospital stay, which in Florida costs about $2,800 or $7,789, respectively. …

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