Ocala city Council Not Ready to Vote on Proposed Tent City
In Pinellas County, homeless people who want help, get a chance to live at a homeless shelter called Pinellas Hope.
There soon maybe a similar homeless shelter in Ocala.
"We want to take homeless people off the streets and make them active participants in our community," said Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn.
Mayor Guinn said the tent city would be called Open Arms Village
There would be about 20 people at first and it may grow to about 40.
Guinn residents will have to follow rules if they want to live there and they will have the opportunity to get counseling, their ged and find a job.
Before this shelter is up and running, board members of Open Arms Village Inc. have to lease out property.
"Homeless people have no place to be. they have no place to use the bathroom. They have no place to take a shower or take a bath. We are trying to take care of that and bring them in to place where they have a chance and get them off of the doorsteps of local businesses," said Karla Grimsley who is the Board President of OAV.
OAV wants to lease city owned land, located on Northwest 35th street and US 441.
At Tuesdays city council meeting, some council members stressed there are still many unanswered questions about the proposed project.
Would the city be responsible for any expenses, property environmental concerns and the impact it would have on neighbors and businesses nearby.
"I am not sure if that is good for my business, but really the important thing is they are taking care of people," said Kim Orberg who is the owner of Z cars of Ocala.
While some people are ok with the idea others don't support it.
A business owner sent an email to the city council, expressing how it would hurt her business and she doesn't agree with it.
After discussing the "Open Arms Village" project for about one hour and a half, city council members agreed that they're not ready to vote on leasing out the property.
Instead they've decided to work closely with open arms board members, in hopes of forming a mutual leasing agreement.
Mayor Guinn said the funding for the project would come from grants and private donations.
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