Housing the homeless costly for Volusia County Jail



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Some have said that the Volusia County Jail is becoming a favorite shelter for many who are homeless.

There's a high price tag that comes with taking care of the homeless in Volusia County.

One formerly homeless man told Channel 9's Blaine Tolison that it comes about, in great part, because the homeless have no place to sleep and get arrested for sleeping in public.

"They call it trespassing. They usually let you out the next day," said Woody Layton, who was homeless at one time.

Circuit Judge Belle Shuman said she studied 50 homeless people arrested a total of 6,000 times over the past 20 years. She said it cost the county $12 million. Now, county leaders may move forward with a solution.

"We're treating homelessness, and it is a facility out there, it's just an expensive one called the jail, so there has to be -- and everyone has figured out there's a better way to do it," said Volusia County council member Joshua Wagner.

Volusia County is seriously considering a transitional facility near the jail, just west of Daytona Beach, to help break the cycle.

It could cost millions to build, but Wagner said police officers constantly removing the homeless from Daytona's tourist district and other areas isn't working.

"You don't want to just say, 'Hey, disappear.' You want to try to help those people and get them off the streets," said Wagner.