First Step Shelter Board Digging In On Policy


Daytona Beach, FL - First Step Shelter Board members are moving forward despite the Executive Director leaving and despite suggestions by Daytona Beach City Commissioners for one or two of the men on the Board to voluntarily resign to make room for a woman or two.

Board member Chase Tramont, also the Port Orange Vice Mayor, said the process to hire a new Executive Director will get underway soon but in the meantime, the Board will take advantage of the opportunity provided by the City of Daytona Beach to have Dr. L. Ronald Durham serve as an interim director.

As for the issue of male members resigning from the Board to be replaced by women, Tramont said that women could certainly bring a different perspective to policy but rather than replace, he'd like to see the Board expanded.

A big part of Monday's meeting was the discussion of policy about admittance to the shelter. The original idea was for the Shelter to have 100 beds. With First Step's cash dwindling down, board members are talking about opening with 40 or 50 beds, while the kinks get worked out. Tramont said that starting off smaller is a suggestion made by Catholic Charities, the organization that will be running the shelter once it opens and he agrees.

As far as the admitting policy, Tramont said that Judge Belle Schumann, who has dealt with the homeless in her courtroom and is heavily involved in the shelter project since 2012, expressed the opinion that the current policy is not financially stable. Schumann also said that priority for admission should favor those that provide funding.

Tramont said the Board talked about food services for the Shelter and that it's been suggested to connect with the Volusia County Jail who can provide meals for two dollars a plate. He said they are still exploring that option but thinks they can do better on price.

The next meeting for the First Step Shelter Board is scheduled for Monday, June 24.


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