• Daytona Beach, Volusia County look at plan to house homeless


    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Daytona Beach city leaders want to help get the homeless off the streets.

    City officials are proposing putting a homeless facility near the jail.

    The move comes after the county manager toured a similar shelter in Pinellas County.

    Officials said it cost the city costing millions of dollars each year to arrest homeless for loitering or sleeping in areas like the boardwalk.

    Support for Volusia Safe Harbor, a new transitional housing program for the homeless, is growing stronger. City leaders in Daytona Beach are expected to vote to officially support the county-led effort.

    "We're happy to get on board with her project and the safe harbor project to make sure that there's a resolution this time," said Daytona Beach Commissioner Carl Lentz.

    In the past the idea of having a large facility near the jail and the Tiger Bay Forest has been tossed around but never gained much interest.

    Recently, Circuit Judge Belle Shuman released numbers showing the county spends $3 million annually dealing with the homeless. The report shows that each year, on average, each homeless person is arrested 15 times a year.

    "She's been able to build momentum and create that momentum, and for this project at large," said Lentz.

    But the project, modeled after a similar one in operation in Pinellas County, is still far from reality.

    Volusia County officials told me they are still researching ideas for housing the homeless.

    Officials say they must partner with other communities, like Daytona Beach, to make it work.

    "For the city, it benefits as well. For the community at large there's a big benefit as well, because people and tourists are much more likely to visit our core tourist areas," said Lentz.

    The City Commission will vote Wednesday night, but then must eventually decide if they have the money to help run the facility currently being researched by the county.

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    Daytona Beach, Volusia County look at plan to house homeless