DAYTONA BEACH – It took getting past years of power struggles, differences of opinion and funding disagreements to get First Step Shelter open in December 2019.

Then three months after the first residents settled into the homeless shelter for adults on Daytona Beach’s western edge, a worldwide pandemic hit. Then the shelter’s operator pulled out of its five-year contract after less than 12 months of running the comprehensive assistance center for unsheltered men and women who want to get their lives back on track.

There were other bumps in the road over the past two years, but gradually the nonprofit shelter figured out how to smooth out its path. So far 217 shelter residents have been placed in housing, First Step is keeping 60 beds full every day, and more than $ 338,000 in grants and donations has recently poured in.

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