Volusia County building to stay open for now

County, city of Daytona Beach agree homeless issue is problem

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The Volusia County Administration Center wasn't always home to more than 100 people who've been camping outside the building for the last two months.

"Everywhere else we were getting arrested and here we're not getting arrested," Karin Hartley said.

Volusia County Council said it's not citing them for trespassing.

"We're not trespassing anyone and the reason is if we did, they would simply go right down the block to another county building," said Josh Wagner, Volusia County Council.

The county also said it's a liability issue, afraid of a lawsuit if they remove people from the sidewalk. The city of Daytona Beach partnered with Salvation Army to take some people off the street, but some refuse to go.

"You can't drink, you can't smoke. You get kicked out. You are going in early and you get kicked out early," Barbara Morgan said.

The county and city agree the homeless issue is a problem, but can't answer how it got so out of hand or who should deal with it.

"The communication is not at a level of where it should be which makes it hard, because you have a city that thinks it's a county issue, then the county thinks it's more of a city issue than a county issue," Wagner said.

News 6 went to City Hall to find out if officials had the answers, but never got a response.

Volusia County said it offered short and long term solutions like first moving the homeless to a temporary shelter, a property near Halifax Urban Ministries on North Street.

"It's not the best solution but it fixes the catastrophe we have going on right now at 250 N. Beach St.," Wagner said.

Once the homeless are in the shelter, the county said it would build Safe Harbor, a property near the jail that the county would pay for and the city would pay for operational costs.

"We're all elected to find solutions. We're not elected to sit on our hands. There's a major problem going on and we really need to get something done," Wagner said.

About the Author: