BY SCOTT UNGER Citizen Staff
sunger@keysnews.com

The Key West City Commission will vote Tuesday on a proposal from the Southernmost homeless Assistance League (SHAL) to construct a new overnight homeless shelter and continue managing its operation.

The proposal calls for a 10-year operating agreement with a $1-per-year lease, along with funding to construct a new Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter (KOTS) at the site of the former Easter Seals building.

Moving the current KOTS facility, (which has been housing the city’s homeless since 2004) from its current College Road location, has been in the works for some time.

A 2013 settlement agreement from a lawsuit brought by nearby condo owners at Sunset Marina stipulated the city make “a good faith effort” to move the facility and Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsey has repeatedly expressed his desire for the shelter to be moved away from the neighboring county jail and sheriff’s office.

The proposal estimates construction costs at slightly over $1,000,000, which includes $51,000 to purchase six elevated quonset huts that will serve as dorms and $77,000 for the bathroom facility that will feature four individual female bathrooms with sinks, toilets and showers and a men’s bathroom with six showers and seven toilets.

The plans also call for $98,547 to renovate the existing structure on the property into offices, laundry facilities and a kitchen.

The total estimated development price tag is $1,193,308, with SHAL required to provide a lender willing to support a 10-year loan, according to the lease agreement.

SHAL is requesting $745,000 in funding from the city for fiscal year 2017-18, up more than $300,000 from its 2016 budget. The non-profit’s only other listed revenue is $75,000 in grant funding.

The proposed budget includes a $158,000 loan payment and $417,732 in employee wages (up from $339,503 in 2016),

Under the operating agreement, SHAL will independently “render homeless services including the management and operation of KOTS” and submit a monthly financial and operating report to the city. Approval by city officials will be required for “significant operational changes” and a clause stipulates the city can terminate the contract if a third party agreement can’t be reached with Monroe County.

The contract also states either SHAL or the city can terminate the agreement with 90 days notice, at which point the property will revert to the city.

The City Commission meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

sunger@keysnews.com