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Deltona supports DeLand homeless plan; DeBary, OC not yet

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar and City Manager Michael Pleus pitch plans for a homeless shelter and service center in DeLand to the DeBary City Council at a recent meeting.

DeLand Mayor Bob Apgar and City Manager Michael Pleus pitch plans for a homeless shelter and service center in DeLand to the DeBary City Council at a recent meeting.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

Deltona leaders have committed $50,000 a year to support a shelter and service center for the homeless to be built in DeLand, while DeBary City Council members so far have been unable to decide on a contribution amount, and Orange City plans to take up the matter in April.

DeLand, which has already committed to $50,000 a year, is trying to get commitments for a total of $315,000 a year — the expected operating costs of the center.

Volusia County has promised to spend $1.13 million to build the facility, if and only if the operating costs can be covered by the cities and private donors.

“Kudos to DeLand for taking the lead,” Deltona City Commissioner Mitch Honaker said, noting the shelter will promote “rapid rehousing” of clients.

The shelter planned at 224 S. Florida Ave. in DeLand will have 20 emergency beds, and space for clients to meet with case managers, as well as a dining room for free meals.

DeLand will contract with The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia to operate the facility.

DeLand’s plan calls for one-third of the operating cost to be paid by West Volusia cities, one-third by churches, and the other third by businesses.

Official figures show 1,799 Deltonans turned to The Neighborhood Center in DeLand for help during the past year, about 17 percent of the charity’s clientele.

“If DeLand can give up to $50,000 a year for the next five years, I feel we can,” Deltona Vice Mayor Chris Nabicht said.

Commissioner Brian Soukup cautioned against being so generous.

“I applaud what you guys are doing,” Soukup told DeLand City Manager Michael Pleus. “My concern is for the city of Deltona. ... My concern is, we’re not spending the money where we need to. ... Are we going to raise taxes?”

When the time came to vote, only Soukup dissented.

Meanwhile, DeBary’s leaders have not yet promised to participate.

The DeBary Council was stumped at its March 1 meeting on how to respond to DeLand’s pitch.

While most City Council members agreed they ought to support the shelter, they didn’t feel they had enough details to vote on any dollar amount as their share.

Bogged down on how to figure the contribution — whether to base it on population or some other criteria — members hoped to see what the other five cities in West Volusia do.

DeBary will take up the matter again in April.

- Al Everson and Rick Butler, info@beacononlinenews.com

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