Bunnell, FL – The Bunnell City Commission heard appeals from volunteers and board members of The Sheltering Tree in reference to the shut down ordered by the Zoning Board on May 31. Board member Sarah Ulis said their comments were met with respect by the Commissioners.
Ulis said local residents also got up to speak, sharing their concerns about homeless people being in the area. Ulis feels that there is a disconnect between what people think The Sheltering Tree is for and what it actually is. The thing is, according to Ulis, The Sheltering Tree is not a homeless shelter, it’s a cold weather shelter, the only one in Flagler County. The shelter opened 19 times this past winter in order for people to get out of the cold when the temperature drops below 40 degrees.
If anything, The Sheltering Tree helps stop people from becoming homeless, according to Ulis. The Sheltering Tree has been dedicated to providing the homeless with food, one-on-one assistance, and cold weather shelter since 2008. Based at Bunnell’s First United Methodist Church, the shelter is dedicated to providing basic needs to the homeless, including food, tents, sleeping bags, and clothing, while helping them make the transition to permanent affordable housing and preventing at-risk individuals from becoming homeless.
Ulis said they are regrouping to appeal the decision. A meeting will be held on Monday, June 17, the day before the next meeting of the Zoning Board, to gather volunteers, of which there are about 150, donors and other supporters to come up with a plan for the appeal.