City Commissioners Leave Safe Zone Issue For The Shelter Board


Daytona Beach, FL - City commissioners now say it's up to the First Step Shelter Board to make a plan for homeless safe zones.

That decision came following a debate between city officials at last night's Daytona Beach City Commission meeting (October 16th). The issue in question was concerns over an outdoor "safe zone" that would be implemented at the First Step Shelter in Daytona Beach.

That safe zone in question would be implemented outside of the shelter for those who did not want to be, or can't be, a part of the shelter's program. The safe zone was already shot down once by the shelter's board. Not due to the idea of the safe zone, but instead the $425,000 annual payment that it was going to cost to run it.

But the problem now, at least for some commissioners, is where some of the homeless would go after staying the night at the safe zone. Commissioner Robert Gilliland fears that opening that safe zone to the other cities in the surrounding area could increase the number of the homeless around the Daytona area.

Mayor Derrick Henry, who is also the president of the First Step Shelter Board, said that wouldn't be a problem.

"I'm not in the easiest position working with you all and working with them," said Henry. "We're not the doormat for their homeless, and I tell them that."

He also assured Gilliland and the other commissioners that if the safe zone were to become a problem it could be taken out as easily as it was put in.

Henry also commented saying that the shelter and its future plans are to everyone's benefit, which includes the surrounding cities. Such as Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Holly Hill, etc.

"We can't just be for Ormond Beach's benefit or Port Orange's benefit," said Henry.

The mayor also mentioned that he would like to make a rule for the cities that if they drop off a homeless person at a shelter, they must come back later and take them back to the city in which they were picked up.

After much debate by the commissioners, the city agreed to let the First Step Shelter Board come up with a plan for the safe zone. There is no date yet on when the board plans to meet again.


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