Volusia Co. administration center will stay open despite homeless gathering outside

- Tuesday afternoon, Volusia County Manager Jim Deenen announced they will keep the County Administration Center open for business, despite dozens of homeless outside.
Eighty to 100 homeless have been camped outside the building for weeks.

Many say they want Manatee Island Park opened back up because it has bathrooms and is out of the way where people can leave them alone.

Kelvin Lumpkin was homeless for two years.

He says it was very hard to get back on his feet.

He says, "They need help. That's all they need. Most of um are kinda shy. They are embarrassed for one thing."

Tuesday afternoon about 75 homeless hung out in their cots and tents in front of the Beach Street building.

Many have been here for more than a month.

Monday, the Salvation Army offered up 46 beds.

Only 20 of the homeless took them up on their offer.

One homeless man we talked to said, "No one wants to give up their spot and their bed to go there then have to come back out here."

The Salvation Army has strict rules.

Anyone who shows up for the night has to be up at 5 a.m. and out by 6 a.m. They don't allow any alcohol or drugs inside and men and women are separated for bed time.

Pastor Mike Pastore has been an advocate for the homeless.

He says, "A number of people have belongings they are proud of. Some people have pets that are here. And, there's some people in wheelchairs the Salvation Army can't accept."

He says one solution is simple: open up Manatee Island Park.

"I believe the homeless need to be in walking distance to services," Pastore said. "A lot of people wanna run the bums out of town, you know, and sweep the streets and hide 'em out of site. OK, manatee island isn't being used."

Manatee Island was closed by the city after the bathrooms were vandalized.

They have since been fixed, but the park is now only being opened by the city for special events.

Fox 35 News tried to talk to city leaders Tuesday, but were told they were all out of the office.

No one has returned our messages.

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