The First Step Homeless Shelter will house 100 single homeless men and women.
In order to alleviate homelessness in Volusia, the County Council voted 4-2 on June 15 to approve funding for a new homeless shelter near the Volusia County jail.
“This is the best effort that has been made in Volusia County toward dealing with the situation,” City Commissioner Rick Boehm said.
The First Step Homeless Shelter is planned to house 100 single men and women and provide them with the help they need to escape their current situation. The shelter will be built on Red John Drive in Daytona Beach, west of I-95.
The shelter is located about 25 minutes from Ormond Beach. Despite the faraway location, Boehm said the city will support it since Ormond is in no position to build its own homeless shelter. He said it is in the city’s interest to support a program that deal with the homeless problem in a way that’ll help limit it.
“It’s value is that you’re reaching out to these people and providing a kind of a one-stop center for them to go to in which you will try to provide services to help end their homelessness,” Boehm said.
City commissioner Dwight Selby volunteered to represent Ormond Beach in the First Step project.
“I don’t think it’ll work for absolutely everybody, but I think there’s a percentage of homeless people who it will work for,” he said.
Transportation to the shelter is one challenge the shelter will face. Selby is not concerned on that front because he believes there are ways to work around it, mentioning churches that have volunteered to help with transportation.
County council members Fred Lowry and Deborah Denys, who represents Port Orange, voted against approving funding for First Step.
Ed Kelley, Volusia County Chair and former Ormond Beach mayor, said he didn’t understand why they wouldn’t support it. As for the distance concern, Kelley said people who bring that point up do it as a cop-out.
“I think generally the people that say they are against it, that it’s too far out, it’s because they don’t know, they don’t understand what is trying to be done,” Kelley said. “That is, we’re trying to help the homeless.”