Annual Conference on Homelessness in Southwest Florida Opens Thursday
FORT MYERS, FL - The Southwest Florida Coalition for the Homeless holds its annual conference 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 29 and 30, at Florida Gulf Coast University to discuss Southwest Florida’s homeless issues and solutions.
“Caring for the Home Front: Building the Regional Network” features guest speakers who are leaders in homeless programming and policy, with an emphasis on the needs of Southwest Florida.
“This conference is the major opportunity for all homeless service providers, advocates, housing programs, social service agencies and citizens interested in homeless issues to get together and learn what is happening in Southwest Florida, the state and the nation,” Coalition executive director and associate professor of Social Work Gary Lounsberry said.
This year, sponsors added Thursday to the schedule to permit in-depth discussion of key topics. Friday begins with the national campaign “Bringing America Home” and the latest update from the Florida legislature including discussion with state and local leaders’ actions on homeless issues.
“It is increasingly apparent that public-partnerships and collaborations are necessary to deal with the complex issues that result in people becoming homeless,” Lounsberry said.
Thursday’s all-day tracks, in Howard Hall 111, include discussions on rural homelessness, advocacy, and cost-effective methods to house the homeless.
Friday’s events will be in the Whitaker Hall Sprint Room and includes speakers from the National and Florida Coalitions for the Homeless, and afternoon breakout sessions on topics such as new approaches for chronic homeless persons with dual diagnoses, and the challenges and opportunities for faith-based homeless programs with moderators Pastor Jonathan Gray of Fort Myers and Pastor J. David Mallory of Naples.
Registration for both days is $45 and $30 for students. Individual days are $25 each and $15 for students.
Mental health professionals and substance abuse counselors who attend are eligible for six Continuing Education Units per day. There is a $10 fee for the certificate.
For more information, contact Sandy Visco in the FGCU Department of Social Work at (239) 590-7819 or firstname.lastname@example.org