Task force lays out solid plan for REEF shelter facility.

PANAMA CITY — Members of Panama City’s Community Resource Center Task Force chose a name for the campus Thursday. Now they need to choose a location.

During a meeting Thursday, members voted to name the campus The REEF, an acronym for Reach Everyone Empowering Futures.

In addition to tying the facility to its Florida location, the name was described as evoking the reef as a place for receiving sustenance and shelter. Reefs start as jagged rock or refuse and grow into a diverse ecosystem that provides a protective environment, said task force member Marilyn Fenimore.

They would be willing to reconsider changing the name of the facility at the request of a major donor.

The next steps in the process are fundraising and finding a location.

Brent Faison said the task force is “in discussions to try to negotiate a land purchase.”

He said there are several sites under consideration. To keep the process moving forward, a location could be chosen in 30 to 45 days, he said. He declined to say where the locations under consideration are.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, task force members were presented a rough plan for the campus, which would include a Community Resource Center, chapel, transitional housing, emergency housing, veterans transitional housing and veterans supportive housing.

“With this in place now, to have something up and running in a reasonable amount of time is foreseeable now, and I don’t think it was before,” said chairwoman Emily Dowdy.

Campus operations would be under a board of directors of about six to eight people who would oversee a chief executive officer.

The Community Resource Center would include space for service organizations including Catholic Charities, Department of Children and Families, Life Management, BASIC, the Workforce Board, Goodwill, Anchorage Children’s Home, CARE, Bay County Health Department and potentially others. There are plans for the Rescue Mission to be involved, if the organization chooses to be.

According to the group’s mission statement, the campus would “offer the homeless, the unemployed, the drug- and alcohol-addicted, the mentally or physically ill, and all vulnerable persons who may benefit from a safe and a stable environment an opportunity to address their difficulties and limitations.”

On-site emergency housing is expected to provide a place to stay for about 72 hours maximum and transitional housing units for about 12 to 24 months.

Plans could change, said task force member Jo Shaffer, who described them as a “snapshot in time, and they are where we are starting.”

Read more: http://www.newsherald.com/articles/panama-102804-reef-city.html#ixzz1vB7j89wF

APPLAUSE APPLAUSE APPLAUSE. This is a positive development for our community. This shows strong leadership on behalf of our city officials that have taken a proactive stance to address the negative impact of the rescue mission facility while serving the needs of those in our community who need assistance. This model allows services to be provided in an open and responsible way that takes advantage of the specific skill sets and unique services that multiple agencies can bring in a collective effort. Under this structure, our community will have input and become partners in how the facility is run and managed. Financial reporting and other statical data regarding numbers served and services provided will become part of a public record for the community to read and evaluate. The board of directors and executive director will work closely with city officials, police department and homeless advocates to get our homeless levels back in line with national averages and create programs that efficiently brings those in need back into being contributing members of our community. Financial support provided by the community will go directly to provide services in an accountable and verifiable fashion.

For an example of a well run facility servicing the community , take a peek at: http://www.havenforhope.org/new/


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