Daytona Beach opens shuttered park for homeless

Volusia County Council recommended the City of Daytona Beach to open up Manatee Island Park, so the homeless would have a place to go.  

The city recently closed access to Manatee Island and closed bathrooms near City Island Park.  The move prompted about 100 homeless people to camp out at the County Administration Building across the street on Beach Street, something that angered business owners and some city leaders.

Pastor Mike Pastore is a homeless advocate. He says, "The city of Daytona beach callously and mean spiritedly closed manatee island when they had no place to go. They created this situation."

In a long debate today on what to do for temporary shelter for Daytona's homeless, Volusia County Council members got a bit fired up.  Deb Denys said, "The city needs to do something! It's within the City of Daytona beach for goodness sakes!"

Plans are underway to build a Safe Harbor shelter for homeless near the county jail. But that project isn't expected to be started for months. Until then, leaders have come up with several temporary ideas, Councilman Josh Wagner suggested a carport style camp on North Street. The city of Daytona is working on temporary shelter at the Salvation army, but they don't have enough bed for the 100 homeless.

In a 6-1 vote, the council ordered Daytona Beach to reopen the access to Manatee Island, claiming control of the area because it's paid for by county funds.