Over the past few months, the County Council has been approached by several people and organizations concerning the right approach to sheltering the homeless. My organization, H.O.M.E. of Daytona Beach, was founded three years ago for the purpose of advocating for a homeless shelter. After those three long years, most who are involved in social service are in agreement that there needs to be a homeless shelter in Volusia County.
Ultimately, the County Council will make the decision (or decisions) on how to approach the street homeless issue. Therefore, I am asking for careful consideration of the options that will best serve the street homeless population. �
I am asking assurance that the needs of everyone suffering the indignities of life on the street are addressed. Men and women who do not suffer from a diagnosed disability, or who are not in and out of the criminal justice system, are often overlooked. Men and women who just find themselves on the wrong side of advantage, for whatever reason, also need a safe alternative to sleeping on the street.
Those who find themselves experiencing homelessness and who do not have a diagnosed disability are often expected to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. However, it is not easy (I speak from experience) when you do not get proper rest or, worse, no rest. There is a serious gap in services for street people who do not have a disability. Realistically, their only option is to help themselves. Programs provided by social services agencies that offer transitional or permanent housing do not extend assistance to most men and women living on the street.
Every successful program that deals with homeless men and women who suffer from a diagnosed disability or who are trying to rehabilitate themselves from a life of careless behavior�begins with providing them with a safe place to sleep. To overcome homelessness, everyone needs a safe alternative to sleeping on the street.
I encourage the County Council to pick a shelter proposal that will be able to provide everyone who seeks shelter with a place to go.
I am optimistic that good things are going to happen.
Brad Carter President H.O.M.E. of Daytona Beach Inc.