Fort Walton Beach Non-Profit Finds a Facility to Help Homeless

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FORT WALTON BEACH-- Come August 12, the City of Fort Walton Beach could be one step closer to reducing its homeless population.

One local non-profit, Community Solutions, and the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce may have found the first solution they hope will help fix the issue.

"This decision has taken years to try and find pockets of land that would work, we have analyzed them and crossed them off, and this is the best and ideal location for the community resource center here in south Okaloosa County,” Ted Corcoran, President of the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, said.

The non-profit says the city's old waste water treatment facility is the perfect fit for the community resource center.

The property sits on eight acres of land off of North Beal Extension.

It already has a number of structures suitable for this long term project.

Officials say the first step, if they are cleared to lease the building, will be putting in community resource offices, then use another building as a centralized location for a cold-night weather shelter.

“When someone falls into homelessness, they don't know where to go, they know they can go to social security, or they can go to the Florida website and do those things, but this will be one coordinated effort where you can come to one spot, and we have a shelter rep, someone who can help with benefits,” Anthony Sawyer, a member of Community Solutions, said.

Officials say they hope to eventually house the homeless full-time and add transportation to and from the facility.

Community Solutions members say if the council allows them to lease the property; they will apply for grants and be asking for donations for the facility's upkeep.

City Manager Michael Beedie says he thinks this is project is the step in the right direction and believes the Fort Walton Beach community will help keep the homeless population down.