Annual homeless count helps determine shelter need in Volusia



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Advocates said there are nowhere near enough resources to serve the homeless in Volusia County.

Advocates told WFTV an annual tally is critical to helping them find a solution.

Students from Bethune Cookman University felt the cold weather that many of the homeless may have to sleep in Wednesday night.

The students counted transients in Daytona Beach and surrounding areas and collected details about their lives.

"It's a good thing to actually come out here and actually do research to like help them," student Keauzsae Williams said.

The annual count of the homeless helps determine the need of state and federal dollars in Volusia and Flagler counties.

But this year, county leaders may use them to determine the need for a new shelter for the homeless near the Volusia County Jail. It's a facility that could cost as much as $1.2 million.

Councilman Josh Wagner has supported the plan from the beginning.

"I can tell you we're housing them in our jail right now. So, it's a better way of dealing with it. We're already spending the money. We might as well spend it in a more efficient way," said Wagner.

Last year in Volusia County, there were 1,900 homeless, according to the Florida Council on Homelessness.

Even if a new shelter became a reality, leaders said it would only have about 400 beds.