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{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt;Temporary shelter&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Meals&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Medical and mental-health referrals&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Employment counseling and placement&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Substance-abuse programs&lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt;” id=”2975f01d-7782-4577-8e58-b1bcae5fdc36″ style-type=”info” title=”Services to be provided at The Bridge” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

“Ask and ye shall receive,” sums up the story of DeLand’s request for additional cash to pay for a larger homeless shelter.

The Volusia County Council Feb. 19 agreed to provide almost a half-million dollars more for the facility that is supposed to help people living on the streets find permanent living quarters and become self-sustaining.

Citing design changes that will enable the facility to help more of the down and out, along with rising construction costs, DeLand city leaders asked for additional money to bridge a funding gap and make the long-planned shelter a reality.

The grand plan for the shelter, to be known as The Bridge, has changed over the past two years since the County Council first approved $1.13 million to cover construction of the facility.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt;To be built at 417 S. Palmetto Ave., next door to The Neighborhood Center in DeLand&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;The Neighborhood Center will operate the facility.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;While the county is picking up most of the construction costs, the City of DeLand and its private partners, including churches and others, have pledged to pay the operating costs.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Groundbreaking could take place in about a month.&lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; ” id=”96451278-f732-44ae-8c4a-2d435c139119″ style-type=”info” title=”Fast facts about The Bridge” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

The shelter was supposed to be a 5,000-square-foot building with overnight accommodations for 20 people. The latest revision calls for a 6,300-square-foot center that can house 30.

The enlargement, plus construction costs that have jumped from an initial estimate of $115 per square foot to about $339 per square foot, increased the shelter’s cost to almost $2.11 million, or nearly $1 million more than the original estimate.

The city split the cost increase with the county. DeLand allotted $500,000 in local funds, and the county will provide $476,407, partly from a federal Community Development Block Grant.

The Community Development Block Grant program is aid given to cities and counties by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with the requirement that it be used to pay for projects and activities that benefit low- and moderate-income people.

The county shifted $250,000 of its CDBG allocation, leaving a shortfall of $226,407 to be covered with reserve funds.

The County Council voted 7-0 in favor of giving DeLand the additional aid.

When built, The Bridge will be operated by The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, an established DeLand-based charity located next door to The Bridge site.

The Neighborhood Center already has homeless-prevention and homeless-transition programs in place.

{{tncms-inline alignment=”right” content=”&lt;ul&gt; &lt;li&gt;Larger kitchen&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Beds for 30 instead of 20&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;Enough space for a cold-weather shelter&lt;/li&gt; &lt;li&gt;6,500-square-foot building versus 5,000-square-foot in the original plan&lt;/li&gt; &lt;/ul&gt; ” id=”04a26ded-0326-4433-a72b-a9c786a973a3″ style-type=”info” title=”What changed?” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

“This one makes sense,” County Council Member Billie Wheeler said. “Thank you, community, for backing this up.”

“The reason this is successful is because you have a public-private partnership,” County Chair Ed Kelley said.

Council Member Ben Johnson said he could support the project, but he offered some caution.

“I’m not saying it’s killing the golden goose, but it’s running for its life,” Johnson said. “You can’t keep coming back and saying, ‘We need more money. We need more money.’”


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