By Scott Unger, Key West Citizen
July 6, 2018
City of Key West officials will formally ask the Monroe County Commission for an extension to move the city’s homeless shelter, as plans for its future remain up in the air.
Moving the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter from Monroe County Sheriff’s Office headquarters and jail on College Road on Stock Island has been a priority for years, but no firm plans can be executed before the county’s Sept. 27 deadline to move the facility, according to City Manager Jim Scholl.
“We still have options but we won’t have them anywhere near ready to go in time for the expiration of our limit with the county commission,” Scholl told city commissioners Tuesday.
Even before the county gave the city a one-year deadline, the city was obligated to move the facility, stemming from a settlement agreement from a 2011 lawsuit filed by the Sunset Marina condo association alleging that KOTS “constituted a public and private nuisance.” The agreement was signed in December 2013.
The city previously planned to move KOTS to the former Easter Seals property on College Road, but is using the 2.62 acres of city-owned property there for an affordable housing project cited as an urgent need in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
In February, the county commission declined to move forward on a proposal to move the homeless shelter to the Bayshore Manor senior living facility and move its 16 residents to the soon-to-be-opened Poinciana Gardens Senior Living facility in Key West.
There will be two items concerning KOTS on the Board of County Commissioners July 18 agenda. One will discuss building housing at the location and another will discuss the termination date for use of the facility, according to County Administrator Roman Gastesi.
How the board will vote is unclear, but county officials feel a shelter is needed somewhere and want to work with the city and Sheriff’s Office to reach a solution, Gastesi said.
“I think overall we understand that a shelter is needed. I don’t know if collectively the county commission feels that way but I guess that’s a start,” he said. “We all have to be part of the solution; we have to work together.”