ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (WWSB) – A non-profit organization, the first of its kind here on Suncoast in Florida, helps people living on the streets of Englewood and other surrounding communities in southern Sarasota and Charlotte counties to get medical attention before it turns into something more severe.
“We provide basic first aid,” said Bonnie Saxman
Saxman, who is a registered nurse, has years of experience in hospitals and ambulances. She and her co-founder Cindy Voortman both quit their full-time jobs to focus on providing on-site first aid to people in the back of their cars.
“We will deal with them on the spot hence the name,” said Saxman. “It was just heartbreaking to see people suffering needlessly like this in our community.”
Saxman said they also offer first aid kits to those they care for, which are tailored to those who receive them.
“First aid kits are very personalized, depending on the disease process they’re going through,” Saxman said.
Even with their good deeds, for now, the couple are looking ahead to find a place to care for the homeless after an operation or a hospital stay.
According to National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood, Florida had the highest 30-day homeless readmission rate at 30.4%, compared to 19.3% for those who were sheltered. New York had the lowest at 15.7% versus 13.4% for housed individuals.
“Our next plan and goal for the future is to maintain our street medicine, but also to have this respite care to provide a safety net for both parties,” said co-founder Cindy Voortman.
Voortman said having a temporary respite care center for the homeless in South County will prevent re-infections and lighten the health system.
“We believe this will have a big impact on their stability and big savings for the healthcare system as well,” Voortman said.
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