Sarah Snyder, the executive director of Pinellas County's Homeless Leadership Board, is retiring from the organization after seeing it through the recession and a resulting spike in the number of homeless people here.
Snyder, who turned 70 last week, said her declining health and inability to spend long hours in front of a computer prompted her decision.
"It's been coming on," she said, "I've had eye issues for the last two years, I lost my right eye in May. And I'm just tired of the long hours."
In a letter to board members, Snyder said she would give them six months to find a replacement, staying no later than April 2014. That timeline would see the board through its yearly application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a roughly $4 million grant, as well as next year's homeless count.
Snyder's retirement comes at the end of a year in which some advocates for the homeless criticized the board's handling of the point-in-time count. That was followed by the board in June asking Synder to return several thousand dollars of the agency's money that she spent on cab rides to and from work.
Board chair Carlen Petersen wasn't surprised by Snyder's announcement. "She and I talked about it and you know, with all she's had with her eye and everything else that's happened this year, it was just stressful," Petersen said.
Snyder became director of the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless in 2005. When that organization merged with the Homeless Leadership Network in 2012 to form the Homeless Leadership Board, she became the head of that group.