CRA Approves $350K To Buy Shelter

By: Bailey Myers Email
By: Bailey Myers Email
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Updated By: Andy Alcock
January 23, 2014

$350,000 in tax money set aside to open a community market in Tallahassee's Frenchtown neighborhood will be used to buy the shelter property instead.

The four city and county commissioners on the Community Redevelopment Agency or CRA approved the plan by a 7 to 1 vote.

Only Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor voted against it.

Proctor kicked a plastic beverage bottle when he explained his opposition.

"So they're taking money that's supposed to do something internally in the interior of Frenchtown and say let's just punt the ball and good riddance," said Proctor.

"I think Commissioner Proctor may have misunderstood," said Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association President Jim Bellamy.

Bellamy points out the market plans had been stagnant for years.

He believes the key to new development in the community is moving the shelter.

"If you were a business person, would you want to open up a business in a neighborhood where you have 250 people hanging around all day," said Bellamy.

"The $350,000 dollars simply was sitting there," said CRA Chair Kristin Dozier. "No one was using it," she said. "My opinion, put it to some use, move us forward," Dozier said.

But Proctor points out the CRA had already approved a plan to buy the shelter property so it could move to a new location on West Pensacola Street without the market money.

"There's no other precedent of de-earmarking monies from other programs, except from Frenchtown to pay for the shelter's movement," Proctor said.

Groundbreaking for the new shelter is scheduled for February 19th.

The hope is the new facility will open before the end of the year.

By: Bailey Myers
January 22nd, 2014

Tallahassee FL- 'The Shelter' in Tallahassee will have a new location next month if all goes to plan. The Tallahassee City Commission provided the last piece of the puzzle-- approving a grant.

"What we have done here tonight is. With this final vote for the city is historic," United Way representative Heather Mitchell's reaction moments after the Tallahassee City Commission unanimously approved a $500,000 grant for a new Comprehensive emergency homeless shelter. It'll go on West Pensacola Street.

"Not only are we going to have a better facility to serve people experiencing homelessness but a more coordinated effort to help people get out of homelessness and into a better living situation," Jacob Reiter "The Shelter" director explained.

The shelter has gained one point five million dollars in total from the city, Leon County and united way foundation over the last few weeks. The facility itself will cost around four point five million dollars. Three million is coming from The Beatitude Foundation Incorporated.

Rick Kearney of The Beatitude Foundation Inc. told us, "When you are blessed and you have good things happen to you I think it is incumbent upon all of us and any of us to share that good fortune with those that need help."

Now that they have the funds, Reiter told us, "This was a major step for us and we will be able to plan the ground breaking."

The facility is expected to house around 390 people-- more than double the current shelter houses now.

"We all agreed unanimously. The United Way board, county commission, and city. Lets make this happen, everyone of us. That says something about who we are as a city as a county as a region." said Tallahassee City Commission Gil Ziffer.

The 40 different organizations part of this new comprehensive shelter say they plan on setting a ground-breaking day soon.They're hoping that'll be sometime in February.

The City of Tallahassee has just announced they will be investing in the new homeless shelter.

The unanimous decision was made just moments ago at City Hall.

The City has committed to donating $500,000 over a 5-year period to this comprehensive shelter.

This was the final piece to the puzzle for the organizations working on this comprehensive shelter.

Now they are planning on breaking ground off West Pensacola Street in mid-February.

The project will cost about $4.5M, and now with the City, County, and United Way all committing $500,000 each and $3M donated by a private sponsor, they have enough to break ground.

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