In the heart of Charlotte County, a remarkable force for change has emerged in the form of Sandra Sands. As the Lead Case Manager for St. Vincent de Paul CARES, Sandra has undertaken a mission of unprecedented significance: to rapidly house Veterans experiencing homelessness in the region. Her tireless efforts, extensive experience, and unwavering commitment have made her a beacon of hope for those in need.
Sandra's journey towards her current role spans over a decade and a half, during which she has consistently demonstrated her dedication to the betterment of society. Armed with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, she embarked on her career in the social work field thirteen years ago, showcasing her adaptability and versatility in meeting the diverse needs of the community.
Her professional odyssey began with child welfare, advocating passionately for the welfare of vulnerable children. She later shifted her focus to children with mental health challenges, ensuring they received the necessary support to thrive. Sandra's journey continued as a Seminole Tribe Advocate, where she tirelessly championed the rights and well-being of this marginalized community. Her compassion and unwavering commitment were further evident in her role as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate, providing invaluable support to survivors during their darkest moments.
However, it is in her current role as the Lead Case Manager for St. Vincent de Paul CARES that Sandra has truly shone as a guiding light in the fight against Veteran Homelessness. Her approach centers around the "Housing First" model, a philosophy that prioritizes providing housing without preconditions or barriers, recognizing that a stable home is the foundation upon which individuals can rebuild their lives.
Sandra's daily work involves offering comprehensive case management services to assist Veterans and their families in becoming "Housing Ready." This may entail helping them obtain essential documents like a DD-214, identification, and social security cards, or connecting them to a SOAR specialist for disability benefits applications. Armed with these vital resources, Sandra guides Veterans through the often-daunting process of completing rental applications for potential housing.
Throughout her cases, every conversation with a Veteran household revolves around the central theme of housing. Sandra takes the time to understand the desires and preferences of those she serves, ensuring their future homes align with their needs and aspirations. Her dedication extends beyond securing housing; she goes the extra mile to create an environment where every Veteran's new residence truly feels like home. By doing so, she helps them maintain their housing and build a foundation for a brighter future.
Sandra Sands and her team at St. Vincent de Paul CARES don't just provide housing and support; they empower individuals to regain control of their lives. Sandra's unwavering commitment to her team's mission fosters a sense of empowerment among those being served, paving the way for their success.
Sandra Sands' exceptional work in rapidly housing Veterans experiencing a housing crisis in Charlotte County and surrounding communities serves as a testament to the power of compassion, dedication, and the unwavering belief that every individual deserves a place to call home. Sandra is proof of the remarkable impact that one person can have on a community, transforming lives and providing hope to those who need it most.
Congratulations, Sandra! On behalf of the entire Continuum of Care, we applaud your outstanding work and contributions to this community.
To nominate a Shining Star making a positive impact on the community, please email:
Kelly Hunter, Director of Development & Marketing, at Kelly.Hunter@GulfCoastPartnership.org with the subject line: Shining Star.