Turning Points assistance programs.

The disadvantaged from Manatee County can use the Open Door drop in service from Turning Points to get help. The non-profit organization will not only provide limited amounts of financial help for utilities or rent as part of the Transitional Development Program, but they provide much more. The working poor as well as uninsured can get receive basic health care, supplies for their home, and other emergency assistance from Open Door.

People facing emergencies such as a car repairs, sudden and unexpected cut back of work hours or loss of employment, or medical issue can apply for financial aid. There may also be support for parents that have lost their child care. There are cash grants from as well as loans available from the Transitional Development Program.

Turning Points can support people who live paycheck to paycheck, as the non-profit knows that unforeseen costs mean extra bills. Many low to moderate income families from Manatee County are forced to choose between paying for these emergency expenses and covering everyday bills. So they need to decide between rent, utilities, or even food for their families.

When a crisis starts, then a vicious cycle starts. As more and more debt accumulates due the crisis, and bills are not paid, eviction and utility shut-offs become a very real threat. Transitional Development can break this cycle, depending on funding availability. There may be grants to pay for rent or bills to prevent eviction or help homeless individuals and families make the transition into stable, permanent housing.

To receive financial assistance from Turning Points, applicants must meet income eligibility guidelines of the needed program or service. In addition, they need to be able to document at least one month of residency in Manatee County (if not more). Since the program is for a crisis, the applicant needs to prove their financial sustainability over the long term.

Basic medical care is available from the Turning Points One Stop Clinic. Volunteer staff, including nurses, can help with everyday medical problems, including insect bites, allergic reactions, physicals and chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Low-income individuals and families from Manatee County can come to clinic for help with these and other primary care concerns.





High quality medical care is provided by supervising physicians as well as their support staff from LECOM (Lake Erie College of Medicine). There is also care provided by fourth year medical students. The Clinic also provides assistance with completing applications for benefits such as Medicaid, prescription assistance programs that are provided through the pharmaceutical companies, and Obamacare.

This service  on applying for government aid is provided by LECOM pharmacology student volunteers, who work with the patient to ensure optimal outcomes. To be eligible for medical services from the Turning Points clinic, applicants must meet program income and residency guidelines as well as set up an appointment.

There is also the Turning Point One Stop Dental clinic. This center was created to address basic, preventative needs of the uninsured or low income. It can be used by Manatee County families instead of a hospital emergency room or more expensive private practice.

At the location will be dentists, hygienists, counselors, and volunteers who work on a part time basis. While some support is offered by the staff, Turning Points also always needs more dental professionals  to help the community by treating those who are in need.

In addition to the programs from the clinic, there is also a Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Florida grant that pays for some coverage. Any type of free dental care is an in-demand service in Manatee County, and at times we keep a running waiting list. Emergency walk-ins are welcome as time permits.




The Open Door Program provides basic needs, as noted below. The array of available services as well as items given out for free is complete and comprehensive. There may be clothes, vouchers for gas, school supplies and more. If the items listed below are now what is needed, then find other ways to get free stuff.

All of the program's services and items are located under one roof run by Turning Points, and there's a friendly and compassionate staff ready to help clients. They will assess the situation and give the goods below as well as provide referrals to stabilize their current living and financial situation. Open Door has some of the following.

  • Free bus vouchers and passes, fuel as well as gasoline assistance (typically only for emergencies), and bicycles, when available.
  • Food, ranging from boxes of groceries to applications to food stamps or hot breakfasts. There is also a lunch in Manatee County as part of the Our Daily Bread of Bradenton.
  • Medical needs includes prescription assistance.
  • Turning Points helps with documents, including for immigrants and others. They help with Florida State identification cards or birth certificates.




  • Suncoast Workforce Board and Turning Points Open Door coordinate employment services. This may be Resume writing and consultation skills, free access to computer with Internet and staff member to help with job search activities, Use of telephone and fax service, and mailboxes.
  • Basic needs including A hot shower and free personal hygiene kit, free Haircuts for adults and children, Restroom facilities and a dedicated shaving area, and a laundry room.
  • School supplies and Christmas items, including toys, books, backpacks, and other items.

Turning Points Open Door and financial aid is provided from 701 17th Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205. for details, call 941-747-1509.


By Jon McNamara

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