Panama City - Panama City Rescue Mission officials are considering closing their day center program after Panama City commissioners passed the new chronic nuisance ordinance Tuesday.
Under the new ordinance, the city can fine a property owner if the police receive five or more complaints about a home or business in a month. The Rescue Mission is looking for ways to avoid fines they cannot afford.
Officials say the day center has generated numerous success stories, but they admit those who do not take advantage of the resources and just hang out can cause problems. Since January 1st, Panama City Police have answered 135 calls for service at the Rescue Mission. That is well above five a month. The mission says by shutting down the Day Center, there will be 70% fewer emergency calls.
Mission employees say anywhere from 50 to 150 people use the day center on a daily basis, but if it shuts down those people will just end up back in Panama City streets. However, Mayor Greg Brudnicki says if the center shut down, the homeless would eventually leave town.
Mission executives will meet this Friday to decide if they want to shut down the day center now, or wait and see if they get fined.