Bunnell’s zoning board voted to disallow the Sheltering Tree, the county’s only cold-weather shelter, from operating out of the United Methodist Church, potentially ending 11 years of service by the non-profit. The Sheltering Tree intends to appeal to the city commission.
Flaglere County Fire Rescue’s Prather’s made nearly 500 house calls last year, serving a client base started with people who were frequent users of the 9-1-1 system for non-emergency medical needs and transportation to the hospital. Since its inception, these calls have decreased by 80 percent.
Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins is pressing the county administrator to develop an ordinance regulating homeless panhandling and tent-pitching with city managers, but none of the local governments other than Bunnell have discussed such policies.
More than half the homeless who lived near the library have scattered to other encampments while a few have found housing options with friends, family or through county and private help.
Denver’s ballot Initiative 300, a first-of-its-kind “Right to Survive,” would allow the homeless to camp anywhere on public lands without risk of arrest, If approved supporters aim to copy it elsewhere.
After years of idling lawmakers, the idea now has more traction in Congress thanks to the recently introduced Raise the Wage Act, which would set a national minimum pay of $15 an hour by 2024.
Palm Coast Council member Jack Howell attacked the homelessness task force in charge of drawing up goals to address the issue, but did not himself provide any goals. A gap of mis-perceptions between public and agencies addressing homeless issues is making concrete solutions more difficult.
Disparities, researchers say, are the result of centuries of discrimination in housing, criminal justice, child welfare and education. Cities and counties are beginning to take a hard look at how entrenched policy has served to perpetuate homelessness in black and brown communities.
Flagler’s health ranking jumped to 9th best in Florida, from 14th last year, in the latest rankings, but the jump masks continuing problems with access to primary and mental health physicians, continuing obesity, smoking and sexually transmitted diseases.
The week-long cleanup of the homeless camp near the public library in Palm Coast revealed concerning hygienic issues but few security incidents. Meanwhile, the library is installing a new security system.