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Helping Local Government Address Homelessness

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By Karen Guin

A University of Central Florida faculty member is helping local government address the issue of homelessness.

Thomas Bryer, assistant professor of public administration, has been lending his expertise in community engagement and process design at meetings convened by Seminole County's Department of Community Services. He has helped the county facilitate two "community conversations" among those who provide services to the county's homeless. And, most recently, he helped design and implement a survey of the service providers.

Both the meetings and survey results will help the county identify the "paths" homeless clients take in accessing services. They also may reveal areas where improvements can be made - valuable information for the county as it develops strategies to reduce homelessness.

Bryer joined the effort thanks to Nancy Ellis, director of the Center for Community Partnerships in the College of Health and Public Affairs. She was aware of the county's plans to hold the meetings and knew Bryer could help. She also secured funding from the college to support Bryer's efforts.

To hear Bryer help facilitate Seminole County's most recent "community conversation," held in March in Altamonte Springs, visit http://cmfmedia.org/2011/04/homelessness-a-community-conversation/

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