DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Talks continue among board members of the troubled First Step Shelter, a city-run nonprofit project aiming to provide shelter for Daytona Beach’s homeless population.
- Homeless shelter board still discussing September opening
- First Step Shelter has faced delays, financial problems
“The only thing that is sure about First Step is nothing is for sure," board member Chase Tramont said. "I know people don’t want to hear that, but that’s been the track record thus far."
The project has faced delays, financial issues, and other difficulties since it was introduced to city leaders in 2016. In April, Mark Geallis announced he was resigning as executive director. Now, the board is working on fundraising efforts to pay for the shelter.
Tramont said the board plans to scale back its annual operating budget from $1.6 million to $1 million, but it won’t do it by reduce services — it intends to cut back on the kitchen plan. Tramont says the shelter will cost more than $6 million to build.
“Our job is to set policy and set the vision for what we want this place to be,” Tramont said.
Clint Lampkin, who is homeless, moved from South Carolina and says it’s tough for him to get a job, and he's been living on the streets.
He said he can’t wait for the First Step Shelter to be finished.
“I am 63 years old, and I am struggling. I cannot take it much longer," Lampkin said. "I need help. I can't keep living like this."
The board says it's still aiming to have the shelter open by September.