Daytona Beach, FL - The grand opening of the First Step Shelter took place today and while it's cause for celebration, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry says the real work starts now. "The same rigor and engagement and grit and determination that brought it to this point...we need that times ten to take it to where we want to see it go."
Daytona Beach Community Relations Manager, Dr. L. Ronald Durham was the interim director of the shelter after Executive Director Mark Geallis left in June of 2018. He said, "The first person will walk through the door on December 16. When the first individual comes off the street, it's going to be something that all of us, I think, will want to see."
The First Step Shelter, or something like it, has been on the minds of the community, government officials and organizations that help the homeless for a number of years. The actual groundbreaking took place in 2017 and despite construction and personnel issues along the way, Volusia County Council Chair Ed Kelley "We made it." Kelley said that creating a place where people could change their lives and become contributing citizens is one of the pledges he made during his 2016 campaign for County Chair and he's pleased with the result.
Board member Chase Tramont, also the Vice Mayor of Port Orange, put it this way, "For many people out there, this building and this program is really their last, best hope. So the good news about what's happening now, is we get an opportunity to really begin writing the story. These are going to be real stories of real lives being changed."
Catholic Charities is ready to welcome the first clients on Monday, December 16.