August 4, 2020
Key West, FL — The City of Key West has notified the Southernmost Homeless Assistance League (SHAL) that its contract to operate the city’s homeless shelter will end on September 30, 2020. Known as KOTS, the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter is on property adjacent to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office facilities on Stock Island. Until earlier this year, KOTS provided overnight shelter to up to 140 homeless adults, but expanded to 24-hour operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SHAL, an IRS-recognized nonprofit, has operated KOTS under a month-to-month contract with the city for nearly nine years. According to SHAL Chairman Peter Dswonyk, “SHAL has proudly and effectively operated KOTS since it was asked to do so by the city in October 2011. While we are understandably disappointed with this action, we will of course support any decision made by the Key West City Commission.”
Dswonyk added, “Our directors and staff are working hard to prepare to turn over KOTS operations to a new, as yet unidentified, entity. We are committed to ensuring the smoothest possible transition with minimal impact to KOTS clients and everyone else in the community.”
To improve the quality of life for both homeless persons and other members of the community, SHAL provides its clients with shelter, outreach services to assist them along a path to self-sufficiency, and advocacy on behalf of the homeless in Monroe County. Prior to operating KOTS, SHAL served as the Continuum of Care (an entity required for federal funding) for Monroe County, coordinating services among and distributing funds to the many nonprofit entities supporting homeless persons in the community. SHAL’s directors are carefully examining its mission and capabilities to determine the organization’s future.
Contact: Peter Dswonyk