DeLand, FL – As expected, in Thursdays session the Volusia County Council approved a plan to get Halifax Urban Ministries’ Hope Place underway in a series of unanimous votes.
Facing a packed room, the council turned in three 7-0 votes to rezone the old Hurst Elementary School building from urban single-family residential to public use, transfer the title to HUM, and approve a $3.5 million grant fund to renovate the building.
Many residents who live near Hurst Elementary expressed concerns regarding what a family homeless shelter would do to an already struggling neighborhood. Other residents who live near the building said they’re in favor of the shelter being in their neighborhood.
“Hope Place is not a shelter for the chronic homeless,” said Forough Hosseini, a leader in the development of the project. “It’s not a shelter for the single adult population…” She went on to say “this is by referral only. They have to go to an agency to be referred to Hope Place. There is going to be a drug taste and a background check before they are allowed to come in.”
According to Halifax Urban Ministries, guests at Hope Place “will be admitted based on referrals from social service agencies and prescreened during their intake to make sure their background makes them a good candidate to live in a family center and neighborhood. Hope Place will provide a safe, stable environment with the resources needed for families to quickly move on to their own permanent housing and self-sufficiency.”
Plans include 26 temporary emergency housing rooms, 10 transitional units, and a separate wing for up to 32 unaccompanied youth. there will be security and resident assistants on site 24/7 and there will be day staff for case management, housing specialists and there will be classes in budgeting, parenting, and life skills. Tutoring will also be available.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.